RMS lashes company’s ‘recidivist behaviour’ over fleet condition

Court throws book at operator for range of HVNL offences

RMS lashes company’s ‘recidivist behaviour’ over fleet condition
Roger Weeks


Roads and Maritime Services (NSW) has taken aim at a transport company it says was issued with 50 defect notices in a single year and has now been fined more than $17,000 during a recent court appearance.

In a statement, the NSW roads authority, which rarely names companies, says Masters Holdings was ordered to present its fleet for a compliance audit in September 2018 "in a bid to stamp out recidivist behaviour around heavy vehicle roadworthiness and repeat defects".

RMS director compliance Roger Weeks says all 16 trucks inspected were defective, with two major defects for a faulty speed limiter and a significant brake issue.

The company – trading as Masters Civil – and its director entered 11 guilty pleas to offences under the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) and were fined $17,395, including costs.

"The seriousness of the offences, particularly the speed limiter offences, the poor record of the company and lack of effort to ensure serious breaches didn’t reoccur led to Roads and Maritime requesting the judge consider the maximum penalty," Weeks says.

"Where it’s clear a company doesn’t have a proper maintenance system in place, demonstrated by a number of vehicles in a fleet failing safety and maintenance checks,  Roads and Maritime pursues the operator to ensure fleet compliance.

Weeks says the company now "appears to have got the message", providing a detailed affidavit to the court addressing what it had done to ensure issues would not occur again.

"It’s unacceptable that trucking companies can risk the lives of other road users by not keeping trucks safe and roadworthy every time they hit the road," Weeks says.

How a huge fine led to a VicRoads reminder to operators on load limits, here

RMS adds it met with a number of stakeholders in the truck and bus industries in July to reinforce its compliance message

It adds, however, that education is still needed for some operators after a Victorian-registered B-double was grounded when it stopped at the southbound Mount White heavy vehicle safety station in late July with just three of the 18 brakes on the vehicle operating properly

"This was a perfect example of the importance of the work our heavy vehicle inspectors do. By identifying this seriously dangerous vehicle before it could travel down the steep hill towards Wahroonga, a major tragedy may well have been averted," Weeks says.


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