VicRoads plans to get tougher on poorly maintained trucks

By: Paul Howell


VicRoads manager warns industry there is nowhere to hide from enforcement officers.

VicRoads plans to get tougher on poorly maintained trucks
'Disgusting': Russell Greenland from VicRoads believes vehicle maintenance levels in the trucking industry need to improve.

 

The financial and reputational costs of multiple vehicle groundings and defect notices should make transport companies think twice before shirking on maintenance, VicRoads transport safety manager Russell Greenland says.

He has told the Victorian Transport Association’s (VTA) annual conference other road authorities are taking a similar zero tolerance approach.

"All the states are going to be working in the same direction now," he says.

"There really won’t be anywhere to hide."

Greenland’s presentation highlighted some of the worst transgressions seen in fleet maintenance, but also noted that maintenance problems were becoming more widespread across the Victorian heavy vehicle fleet.

"The state of the fleet is disgusting," he says, blaming mechanics that are not encouraged or pushed into taking their work proactively.

Many subjects of inspections are surprised when defects are revealed.

"I can’t understand why my mechanics can see this stuff; and their mechanics can’t," Greenland says.

"[As managers,] you have to make sure you get what you pay for," he says.

"Mechanics need to be inspecting the vehicles properly."

Like other speakers at the conference, Greenland spelled out how the risks and costs of non-compliance were far greater than the expense of bringing vehicles up to roadworthiness standard.

"Every time we issue a defect notice, we will put the vehicle through a full roadworthy test [at the owner’s expense]," he says.  

The company will also face costs in having that resource off the road for a period of time, he says.

Multiple defects on multiple vehicles are common, and can cost the company millions and also harm its ongoing reputation.

Greenland says VicRoads keeps lists of potential inspection targets, based on factors seen on and off the road.

"We’re always looking for the indicators of non-compliance," he says.

Dirty trucks, untidy workshops, and inadequate paperwork are three of the biggest signs of non-compliance, Greenland adds.

"You don’t want to be on our lists. It’s a very painful experience. It really is a substantial cost to not comply," he says.

"If you bring your fleet up to speed it will cost you less in the long run."

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