New COR rules gain ATA backing

Trucking body says new chain of responsibility rules will improve enforcement and compliance within the industry

New COR rules gain ATA backing
ATA CEO Chris Melham calls on political parties to not delay the rollout of the approved COR reforms on account of the upcoming elections.


Moves to strengthen the chain of responsibility (COR) as it relates to transport customers have been welcomed by the Australian Trucking Association (ATA).

The trucking body says the new rules will improve enforcement within the industry and allow strict action against customers who ignore compliance.

Following a meeting with NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto on Wednesday, the ATA expressed its commitment to support the regulator and its road safety measures.

"The goal of the heavy vehicle chain of responsibility laws is to ensure that major customers are held to account for the demands they impose on trucking businesses," ATA CEO Christopher Melham says.

"All too often, however, investigations start and end with trucking businesses and their drivers because it is too difficult to pursue customers.

"In some cases, major customers won’t even concede that they are subject to the laws.

"The ATA and the NHVR held important discussions yesterday about the effect of the chain of responsibility reforms, which governments agreed to last year following lobbying by the industry.

"In the ATA’s view, it is essential that the forthcoming federal election does not delay the rollout of these reforms."

Last week, NHVR announced its plans for a national vehicle survey aimed at understanding the state of Australia’s 520,000-strong heavy vehicle fleet.

Petroccitto says the National Roadworthy Baseline Survey will sample approximately 9,000 heavy vehicles, including rigid, articulated, B-doubles, road trains, buses, and plant equipment, to gain a better idea of the country’s trucking standard.

The regulator will also continue to push its National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme, which had had 6,096 operators accredited last year.

Moreover, the NHVR is currently working on a new national inspection manual that will monitor compliance and enforcement across Australia.

The new rules are expected to come into effect in the following months.

"The ATA has already submitted an application to have the industry’s own safety accreditation program, TruckSafe, recognised under the industry code of practice guidelines.

"TruckSafe consists of four core modules around management, maintenance, driver health and training, with the voluntary TruckCare livestock transport module also available.

"These modules help accredited operators ensure they meet industry best practice in these areas of their business.

"A fifth module, covering on-road compliance, will be added in June as part of an update to the standards.

"TruckSafe accredited operators are audited by independent external auditors to ensure they are meeting the high standards TruckSafe requires of its members."

Trucksafe is a voluntary program, whose members reflect zeal to ensure they are running the "safest possible business", Melham says.

"I look forward to TruckSafe’s approval as an industry code of practice, so the efforts being made by these operators can be formally recognised by the NHVR as well," he adds.

In related news, the ATA Council has agreed to develop a new Technical Advisory Procedure (TAP) covering tyres and tyre operations in its bid to promote road safety.

NTI statistics reveal that up to 3.6 per cent of major truck accidents are caused by tyre failures and ATA is confident that the new TAP guidelines will help improve road safety measures.

The TAP, which is expected to be released next year, will set out "best" practices on a range of key technical issues, including wheel security and heavy vehicle wiring.

"The new TAP will provide operators with best practice guidance on maintaining inflation pressure, correct load and speed ratings, tread depth tolerances and the effect of rolling resistance on fuel burn," Melham says.

"The TAP is another example of how the ATA is getting on with developing practical measures to improve truck safety for everyone."


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