The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) states that; under chain of responsibility (COR), complying with transport law is a shared responsibility and all parties in the road transport supply chain are responsible for preventing breaches. This approach recognises the effects of the actions, inactions and demands of off-the-road parties in the transport chain.
Anybody – not just the driver – who has control over the transport task can be held responsible for breaches of road laws and may be legally liable. COR is similar to the legal concept of ‘duty of care’ that underpins Occupational Health & Safety (OH&S) law. This approach has long been used by the courts to impose liability in negligence and damages claims.
All parties in the supply chain – consignor/dispatcher, packer, loader, scheduler, consignee/receiver, manager, as well as the driver and operator – must take all reasonable steps to prevent breaches of the road transport mass, dimension, loading, speed compliance and work hours laws.
Under Chain of Responsibility law, penalties and sanctions range from formal warnings to court imposed fines and penalties relating to the commercial benefit derived from offences. Supervisory intervention orders and prohibition orders banning individuals from the industry can be applied to ‘persistent or systematic’ offenders.