‘Defective and overmass’: $91,000 in fines after multi-vehicle crash

A transport company and its operator have received $91,000 in fines for “multiple failures”, which ended in a multi-vehicle incident on the South Eastern Freeway at Urrbrae.

This follows a South Australian Police investigation into the driver, vehicle and its registered operator.

The court heard the operator had permitted an unlicenced driver to drive a defective and overmass heavy vehicle without undergoing an induction or any training, and that the operator did not have adequate policies and procedures in place.

The incident occurred on July 24, 2022 and involved one heavy vehicle and several other vehicles, with nine people injured – five of which had to be cut free from their vehicles by emergency services.

A sentence was handed down on February 23 at the Adelaide Magistrates Court, with Malcolm Lindsay Swansson and his company, Malandy Pty Ltd, receiving fines of $84,000 and $7000 respectively.

The heavy vehicle company and operator were found guilty and sentenced for Category 2 offences under the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL).

Commenting on the case, National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) executive director Ray Hassall said, “It’s imperative that operators understand their obligation to keep their drivers, and importantly all road users, safe on the South Eastern Freeway.

“In this incident, we’ve seen a heavy vehicle lose control, skid and roll into oncoming traffic at the intersection.

“This case strongly reminds us of the reasons for the robust safety and operational standards within the heavy vehicle industry.”

NHVR acting director of prosecutions Elim Chan said the lack of policies led to the operator’s failure to take reasonable steps to eliminate or minimise public risk from arising.

“The NHVR is committed to ensuring all parties in the Chain of Responsibility uphold their duties to safeguard public safety,” she said.

“The NHVR challenges industry to not only meet, but exceed the safety standards set forth under the HVNL.

“It’s our collective responsibility to ensure the safety of our roads for both drivers and the public.”

The driver of the truck is awaiting trial on dangerous driving charges.

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