A trucking company issued with 50 defect notices in a single year has felt the full force of the law, being fined more than $17,000 during a recent court appearance.
Masters Holdings was ordered to present its fleet to Roads and Maritime Services for a safety and compliance audit in September 2018 in a bid to stamp out recidivist behaviour around heavy vehicle roadworthiness and repeat defects.
Roads and Maritime Services Director Compliance Roger Weeks said all of the 16 trucks inspected were defective, with two major defects for a faulty speed limiter and a significant brake issue.
The company and its director entered 11 guilty pleas to offences under the Heavy Vehicle National Law and were fined $17,395, including costs.
“The seriousness of the offences, particularly the speed limiter offences, the poor record of the company and lack of effort to ensure serious breaches didn’t reoccur led to Roads and Maritime requesting the judge consider the maximum penalty,” Mr Weeks said.
“Where it’s clear a company doesn’t have a proper maintenance system in place, demonstrated by a number of vehicles in a fleet failing safety and maintenance checks, Roads and Maritime pursues the operator to ensure fleet compliance.
“It is pleasing the company now appears to have got the message, providing a detailed affidavit to the court addressing what it had done to ensure issues would not occur again.
“It’s unacceptable that trucking companies can risk the lives of other road users by not keeping trucks safe and roadworthy every time they hit the road,” Mr Weeks said.
During July, Roads and Maritime took that message to a number of stakeholders including the Bus NSW conference and the Livestock, Bulk and Rural Carriers Association.
“The agency regularly meets with industry partners and representative associations with the aim of boosting compliance with road transport laws to enable safe and efficient journeys across the NSW road network,” Mr Weeks said.
For some operators however, there is still some education required as demonstrated by the grounding of all three units of a fully laden Victorian registered B double which was stopped at the southbound Mount White heavy vehicle safety station in late July with just three of the 18 brakes on the vehicle operating properly.
“This was a perfect example of the importance of the work our heavy vehicle inspectors do. By identifying this seriously dangerous vehicle before it could travel down the steep hill towards Wahroonga, a major tragedy may well have been averted,” Mr Weeks said.