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Driver behaviour a major focus of CoR compliance: Roads & Maritime Services

Roads & Maritime Services Director of Compliance, Roger Weeks, has outlined how authorities in New South Wales are focusing on Chain of Responsibility compliance.

Speaking as a guest last week at the 2018 Supply Chain Safety & Compliance Summit in Melbourne, Weeks said CoR had been designed in part to remove the pressure on the driver to break the law.

“Our purpose is to deliver risk-based regulatory activities that motivate safe and compliant road user behaviour because this is about behaviour,” he said.

“If we are to make those changes it is not just government, it is not just road regulators, it is not just the police, it is not just leading operators, it is every road user who has a personal responsibility for behaviours, actions and decisions that they take when using the road.”

Weeks said authorities achieved objectives by engaging in education through deterrents, detecting, enforcing, and prosecuting road users, where appropriate, in the pursuit of increasing compliance.

Data from 208 investigations over the past two years resulted in 64 per cent of CoR investigations relating to fatigue. A further 18 per cent of these related to speed with 13 per cent related to mass.

“I’m pleased to say our data shows that 78 per cent of our investigations are concluded with either a situation of no case to answer or the party voluntarily has undertaken to make improvements,” said Weeks.

According to Weeks, nine per cent result in an improvement notice being issued while 13 per cent receive prosecution.

“When we decide to prosecute we use the director of public prosecutor guidelines with paramount consideration for public interest,” he said.

Weeks said one out of every three workplace deaths involved a transport worker and in New South Wales heavy vehicle registration had increased over the last 10 years by over 12 per cent.

“We have over 190,000 heavy vehicles on the NSW heavy vehicle register. We know that on NSW Roads on any one day there are up to 400,000 heavy vehicle trips,” he said.

“We know that 65 per cent of Victorian, South Australian and Queensland registered heavy vehicles traverse through New South Wales on major freight networks.”

“We know that our heavy vehicles only represent 2.5 per cent of NSW registered vehicles and only covers nine per cent of all kilometres travelled by NSW registered vehicles that are involved in 22 per cent in all road fatalities. It’s significant over representation.”

He said any crash involving a heavy vehicle given its mass irrespective of who was at fault, is likely to have a tragic outcome. Up until February 2018, the preceding 12 months revealed 41 per cent of heavy vehicles involved in fatal crashes on NSW roads were registered interstate.

Weeks said operators who were willing to do the right thing made his job that much easier. For those that tried to but didn’t always succeed his organisation would help them to comply.

“For those that don’t want to comply we need to deter by detection and endeavour to change behaviour,” he said.

“For the percentage that have decided not to comply we will use the full force of the law. We know that chain of responsibility can be summarised in a bit of a tagline. Every load. Every vehicle. Every person. Every time.”

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