Queensland eyes stronger COR laws to improve safety

Stronger chain of responsibility laws, electronic work diaries and safety plan seen as key measures to reduce road toll

Queensland eyes stronger COR laws to improve safety
Queensland eyes stronger COR laws to improve safety
By Brad Gardner | June 5, 2013

The Queensland Government will look to the implementation of stronger chain of responsibility laws over the next two years to reduce the State’s road toll.

The Government’s Queensland Road Safety Action Plan 2013-2015, released in conjunction with yesterday’s State Budget, lists a number of initiatives to cut the number of accidents and casualties on the network.

Along with detailing steps to be taken in the areas of infrastructure, speed management, vehicle safety, road users and partnerships, the plan says a review of chain of responsibility "to strengthen requirements for all parties in the transport chain to reduce heavy vehicle speeding, fatigue and mass-compliance" will be a priority action.

It also lists the introduction of electronic work diaries and a new advanced fatigue management (AFM) scheme as two more priorities, along with seeking industry guidance on the development of a plan to improve heavy vehicle safety.

"This action plan sets out what the government will do over the course of the next two years to work toward achieving a safe road transport system," the plan states.

"These include targeted improvements to road and roadside infrastructure, educating road users to make safe on-road decisions and comply with existing laws, encouraging people to purchase the safest vehicle in their price range and maintaining a strong speed management program."

The National Transport Commission (NTC) is leading a review of chain of responsibility laws and will present its recommendations to transport ministers toward the end of the year.

"This will involve assessing the provisions in the law to ensure parties in the supply chain are appropriately accountable and to gauge the consistency of the COR provisions with occupational health and safety legislation," NTC Project Director Dr Sarah Jones says of the review.

The trucking industry has in the past criticised enforcement agencies for failing to go beyond transport operators when prosecuting chain of responsibility offences.

The Road Safety Action Plan will funnel $2 million from speed camera revenue to establish a road safety fund to support education and awareness programs and injury rehabilitation. Another $6 million in revenue will be used on social marketing campaigns and strategies along with developing and maintaining community partnerships to encourage discussion about road safety.

The Government has pledged $82 million a year to fast-track road safety engineering treatments, a $19.8 million campaign to change driver behaviour and reforms to licensing for younger and older drivers and motorcyclists.

Queensland will also increase the number of hours its mobile speed cameras are operating to 90,000 per year and upgrade red light cameras so they can detect speeding vehicles. As announced yesterday, the State will review speed limits on up to 100 roads.

Furthermore, Queensland will consider immediate licence and registration suspensions for high risk offences, including using a mobile phone while driving.

Funds will be invested in infrastructure projects such as sealing shoulders, installing wide centreline markings and building safety barriers.

Queensland’s road toll has climbed steadily since a record low of 249, hitting 269 in 2011 and 280 last year. The plan says there has been no consistent downward trend over the last decade and there has been little change to the number of people hospitalised due to crashes each year.

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