Chain of responsibility to include vehicle maintenance

Australia's transport ministers agree to extend chain of responsibility to heavy vehicle maintenance standards.

Chain of responsibility to include vehicle maintenance
Australian Trucking Association CEO Chris Melham.


Chain of responsibility provisions will be extended to cover heavy vehicle maintenance.

Meeting as part of the Transport and Infrastructure Council, Australia's transport minsters agreed to implement the measure across all jurisdictions.

The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) has been quick to welcome the announcement to ensure trucking businesses and their executives are held accountable for the condition of their vehicles.

ATA CEO Chris Melham says the association has been lobbying for vehicle maintenance to be a part of chain of responsibility since 2013.

"Maintenance levels are generally very good in our industry. As operators, we put a great deal of effort into making sure our equipment is safe. However, some businesses may feel pressured to skimp on maintenance in order to save money and time," Melham says.

"At present, company directors and executives can be held to account under the chain of responsibility legislation if their business does not take all reasonable steps to prevent fatigue and speed breaches. But there are no similar requirements for maintenance."

During the council meeting, ministers also backed the development of a national heavy vehicle registration scheme.

They asked the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) to work toward a fully workable scheme by July 1, 2018.

Furthermore, the meeting touched on the progress made to reform the heavy vehicle charging framework.

As part of initial measures, the council will consider a national four-year road expenditure plan in November. They will also vote on a heavy vehicle road asset standards publication covering key freight routes.

"This will represent a major milestone achievement for reform of road infrastructure provision and use in Australia and is designed to improve the heavy vehicle industry’s engagement in the road planning and investment decision making process," the communique from the meeting says.

The ATA ahas welcomed continued progress on the road expenditure plan and heavy vehicle road asset service standards.

"Before our industry can even consider the long-discussed idea of direct road pricing, it’s essential that governments know what they own," Melham says.

"They must have forward expenditure plans that we can rely on, and must have service standards so the infrastructure they expect us to buy is fit for purpose."


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