Company and director penalised after fatal truck collision

RMS investigation led to charges under chain of responsibility laws

Company and director penalised after fatal truck collision
Investigators at the scene after the collision


A transport company owner has been penalised $88,000 with an additional $30,000 in legal costs following a prosecution on Chain of Responsibility (COR) breaches.

A Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) investigation after a fatal collision led to the charges against the Albion Park-based A. Fife & Co.

On March 24, 2017, A. Fife & Co B-double driver Adrian Ryan, 32, and Sydney car-carrier driver, Michael Gorman, 39, died in a fiery head-on crash on Picton Road near Wilton, New South Wales.

RMS notes there was no link made by magistrate Georgina Darcy between the charges and the crash, however "crashes which involve a police investigation can be the catalyst for Roads and Maritime Services to look into the wider practices of a company’s operation in line with Heavy Vehicle National Law, as was the case in this instance".

In Sydney Central Local Court, A. Fife & Co and director Peter Fife faced charges under the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) on 24 offences, each relating to driver fatigue and breaches in the COR for its duty of care.

"Roads and Maritime Services brought a number of charges against the defendants under chain of responsibility laws for failure to prevent breaches of the fatigue provisions," an RMS spokesperson tells ATN.

"This involved multiple breaches of section 261(2)(a) and 13 offences for not recording change of activity, section 315(2)(a)."

Read the NHVR's confirmation of COR investigations taking place, here

Section 261(2) addresses liability of employer "if the driver of a fatigue-regulated heavy vehicle is convicted of an offence involving a contravention of a maximum work requirement or minimum rest requirement applying to the driver".

Section 315 relates to work diary offences and stipulates "if a relevant offence is committed involving the driver of a fatigue-regulated heavy vehicle, each of the following persons is taken to have committed an offence against this subsection".

"Roads and Maritime will continue to actively investigate and pursue chain of responsibility laws across the heavy vehicle industry to improve safety for all road users," the spokesperson adds. 


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