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$60,000 Fatigue Breach

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT AND MAIN ROADS (Complainant) v Anonymous Transport Co.

If the person in control of a heavy vehicle commits an extended liability offence, each influencing person is also taken to have committed the offence.

fatigue breach
25th August 2020


Background

  • During the period of employment, two drivers breached their fatigue hours 22 times and 14 times, respectively, in trucks that were fitted with GPS tracking equipment.
  • The magistrate noted, “It was clear that the company failed to do everything reasonably practicable to prevent these breaches.”
  • Both of the two drivers were also convicted and fined $14,000 and $6,000, respectively, for the fatigue breaches.

In an unrelated case before the courts (2015), the owner of a transport company in Queensland was deemed to have been “acting in a way to maximise profit, with little regard for fatigue management legislation. In order to avoid detection, the owner of the transport company attempted to maintain plausible deniability through wilful blindness to systematic breaches of the Regulation by drivers in order to avoid personal liability.”

Under the current legislation, it is deemed that “If the person in control of a heavy vehicle commits an extended liability offence, each influencing person is also taken to have committed the offence.”

extended liability offence means –
“an offence committed by the person in control of a fatigue regulated heavy vehicle because there has been a contravention of a fatigue management requirement in relation to the vehicle.”

An influencing person means –
the owner of the heavy vehicle or a person, other than the owner or registered operator, who controls or directly influences the operation of the heavy vehicle.”

In both of the aforementioned cases, it is alleged the “person in control” is each driver, the “owner of the heavy vehicle” is Body Corporate or the Anonymous Transport Pty Ltd and the “person…who controls or directly influences the operation of the heavy vehicle” is the owner of the transport business, in this case, the Anonymous Transport company.

Due to the outcome of the decision, we cannot provide or display the actual name of the company involved, which is irrelevant for the purposes of learning from these events anyway. 

It is worth noting that although the Department of Transport and Main Roads (Qld) prosecuted the Toowoomba based trucking company for offences between Qld and NSW, the National Heavy Vehicle Law also well known as Chain of Responsibility in Supply Chain circles, can be used in all states, apart from the Nothern Territory and Western Australia to prosecute others for fatigue breaches, with heavy fines for those found to have systemic breaches.

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