After conducting an internal audit of its operations, a transport company identified a number of ‘close shaves’ in relation to Chain of Responsibility (CoR) incidences.
Most would have been regarded as minor incidences without a real pattern emerging, but the company was concerned that it might become the subject of a CoR prosecution.
Therefore, it asked the question of the CoR Adviser Helpdesk: What does the Heavy Vehicle National Regulator (HVNR) consider when deciding whether to prosecute?
What the regulator considers
There are many considerations for the regulator in determining whether to prosecute.
First, the regulator will often issue a company with an improvement notice. This identifies the actual or suspected breach of the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) and requires you to set out what you have done, or what you plan to do in response, to prevent any similar breaches from occurring in future.
The regulator may also seek a direction to produce documents in some circumstances. It is important that you provide prompt and effective responses to any prior notified incidents in accordance with your CoR policy and that you provide any other steps you have taken to ensure CoR compliance by your employees and business partners.
Based on these responses, the regulator will decide whether to prosecute.
CoR investigations will be pursued when the regulator considers that sufficient information exists to demonstrate an alleged breach, and when it is in the public interest to prosecute.
Minor mass breaches, for instance, are unlikely to be subject to a formal CoR prosecution, however, repeated breaches may result in a CoR prosecution.
Where to start
As you can see, accurate documentation can be key to avoiding prosecution. Having robust CoR policies and procedures, as well as keeping good records, can also help you identify where possible breaches can occur (or are occurring).
What information you should be keeping, and in what form, is available to subscribers to the CoR Adviser newsletter, as is access to the Helpdesk, from where this question and answer originated.
Don’t risk acting on the wrong advice or just hoping that you won’t get caught if you do breach the HNVL. CoR laws can be extremely difficult to navigate without the right type of information.
Act now and subscribe to CoR Adviser.
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