A transport company has avoided the maximum penalty of over $574,000, following an investigation that identified 543 fatigue management and other serious breaches.
The charges follow an investigation by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) that found four drivers committed the 543 contraventions of the HVNL during two periods (August 28, 2020 to September 22, 2020; and March 28, 2022 and April 6, 2022).
These breaches included:
- 44 work/rest hour offences (18 critical, 3 severe, 3 substantial and 20 minor)
- 93 offences for making false or misleading in work diaries
- 406 speeding offences (highest speed was 118km/h)
Though the NHVR has not released the name of the company that was charged.
The regulator says its investigations unit charged the company after analysing National Driver Work Diaries, fuel records, GPS data, and heavy vehicle sightings.
According to the NHVR, while the company had systems, policies and procedures in place, they were not effective or adequate in monitoring and enforcing driver hours, ensuring scheduling did not cause drivers to breach their work and rest hours, managing speed compliance and there was not adequate implementation of corrective action for breaches of the HVNL.
Following a plea of guilty, the company was convicted and fined $65,000. A Supervisory Intervention Order (SIO) was also ordered for 12 months, necessitating significant operational reforms.
These reforms include developing a speed management policy, ensuring drivers and staff undertake fatigue management training, ensuring all drivers transition to Basic Fatigue Management working conditions, undertaking regular drug and alcohol testing and requiring all drivers to use Electronic Work Diaries.
Emma Watson, NHVR director of investigation, said, “The investigation revealed the company failed to support their employees with the relevant safety measures and this outcome is a commitment to seeing these standards improved.”
The court discounted the fine because of the extensive remedial work the company had put in place since the offending. These included the employment of an experienced compliance officer, having drivers transition to BFM hours and starting to use a new program to assist with audits and monitoring.