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SA towing operator faces charges relating to fatality

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The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) has laid primary duties charges against a towing operator and its company director in relation to a fatal incident at Clements Gap, South Australia, in February last year.

NHVR Executive Director Ray Hassall said the charges came as a result of an investigation by specialist Major Crash and Heavy Vehicle investigation sections of the South Australia Police.

“This is a tragic incident, where someone lost their life, and these charges stem from a comprehensive investigation that found an alleged breach of the primary safety duty,” said Hassall.

The NHVR’s policies preclude it from naming the defendants but public court records reveal that the defendants are Birrell Heavy Tilt & Transport and its director Gregg Anthony Birrell.

The matter was listed for the first time in the Port Pirie Magistrates Court on November 16, 2020 and has been adjourned to December 15, 2020.

The NHVR prosecution alleges that the defendant held a primary duty under the Heavy Vehicle National Law as the operator of a heavy vehicle engaged in heavy vehicle towing. This alleged breach by the defendant exposed an individual to a risk of death.

The maximum penalties are $300,000, or five years’ imprisonment, for an individual, and $3 million for a company.

“The primary safety duty aims to ensure public safety with the use of heavy vehicles in transport activities and is an obligation attached to those in the chain of responsibility and to executives of entities engaged in a transport activity,” said Hassall.

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