Last year, a B-double carrying beer became wedged under a bridge for several hours on Arthur Street, Granville, part of Sydney’s M4.
While we can all make jokes around delayed beer supplies, the serious side to this story is that the NSW Roads and Maritime Services said the 4.23m heavy vehicle was ‘off-route’ when it failed to pass under the fully-signed low clearance (3.7m) bridge.
Driving a heavy vehicle on an inappropriate route poses a risk to the safety of the driver and public, and of damage to public infrastructure. Costs of repairs to vehicles and infrastructure can be enormous. Thankfully, in this case, no-one was injured.
Events like this remind us of the importance of ensuring that heavy vehicles are not over-height and are not driven on routes that are inappropriate for their height.
Driving past a clearance sign, or low clearance sign if the vehicle is higher than the height indicated by the sign, is an offence under State road legislation (in New South Wales, the Road Rules 2014 (NSW)) rather than Chain of Responsibility (CoR) legislation.
However, parties in the Chain must ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, the safety of their transport activities.
4 actions you can take to reduce your risks
- Conduct risk assessments identifying risks and the influence or control you have over how the risk may be addressed.
- Educate drivers in which routes are appropriate for their vehicle and load, and ensure they have access to up-to-date information about safe routes.
- If GPS technology is provided to assist with routing, warn drivers of any limitations, for example whether the GPS is equipped to take clearance into account when re-routing after a vehicle has gone ‘off route’.
- A solid CoR safety management system will help prevent your vehicle or cargo ending up in a sticky situation.
While articles about trucks being involved in breaches of the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) appear occasionally in the mass media, how to prevent these breaches from occurring rarely, if ever, appears.
That’s why it makes sense to subscribe to the CoR Adviser monthly newsletter.
Written by the transport law experts at Holding Redlich, CoR Adviser explains in plain English, your roles and responsibilities under CoR laws and, importantly, how to avoid costly breaches.
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