By now, many readers of this bulletin will be familiar with the four pillars of their CoR obligations – fatigue, mass, load restraint and speed – and the separate and collective risks they present.
But how are penalties determined for breaches of CoR obligations?
Editor-in-Chief of our subscriber newsletter CoR Adviser , Geoff Farnsworth, explains there are a number of considerations taken into account when investigating a potential breach of the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL).
Geoff says: “The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) will consider legislated limits, the potential risk to people’s safety, as well as the potential for damage to road infrastructure.
“The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) divides risk into a number of breakpoint categories, including minor, substantial, severe and critical breaches,” Geoff says.
The NHVR has defined the types of breaches as follows:
- Minor breach – risk of someone gaining a minor unfair commercial advantage over those who operate legally, but no risk to safety or infrastructure.
- Substantial breach – risk of damage to infrastructure, increasing traffic congestion and unfair competition. It may also involve some risk to safety, although not an appreciable risk.
- Severe breach – appreciable risk to safety, more severe risk to infrastructure, greater risk of traffic congestion or a greater level of unfair competition.
- Critical breach – contravention of fatigue-regulated maximum work time and/or minimum rest time, which would adversely affect the driver’s ability to drive safely.
The severity of the breach, as determined by the NHVR, will also determine the penalty dished out, and it’s not just the vehicle driver in the sights of the NHVR.
Before CoR, vehicle drivers were held responsible for practically all breaches. But under CoR, these responsibilities are shared along the chain, as are the penalties for breaches.
The NHVR says that in a prosecution, the courts may consider the actions of each party in the supply chain. This includes what measures those parties have in place to prevent breaches of the HVNL occurring. Each duty-holder must take all reasonable steps to ensure a heavy vehicle driver can perform their duties without breaching the HVNL.
The best place to learn more about CoR and how avoid breaches of your obligations is from the experts. And CoR Adviser has gathered legal and industry experts all in the one place to deliver the most up-to-date information specific to CoR.
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