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News headings from LabourStart


Overloading Fines

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All drivers will be aware that Chain of Responsibility “COR” laws are in operation nationally, and that those laws make all persons in the transport chain responsible for ensuring goods carried by them or on their behalf:

Truck operators must ensure their vehicles:

  • Do not exceed vehicle or permitted dimension limits.
  • Do not exceed the vehicle or permitted mass limits.
  • Are appropriately secured.

Recently, a member who was fined for overloading in circumstances where that he was not his fault.

He sought our advice about whether he could recover the fine from the transport company which had arranged the freight.

The driver had picked up an already loaded trailer in a small NSW town and he was required to bring the load to Perth.

When he got to Ceduna the truck was taken over the scales by transport inspectors. It was several tonne over the maximum allowed for that combination.

Consequently the driver was issued with an infringement for $680.00.

When the driver got back to Perth he explained the situation to his boss, who in turn passed the infringement on to the transport company which had arranged the load.

Initially the other transport company agreed to pay the fine, but eventually reneged.

Our member felt this firm ultimately liable under the COR rules, and that therefore they should pay the fine that the member had received.

As is usual in these types of cases, the situation is not quite as simple as that.

The COR laws place equal responsibility for compliance with mass, dimension or load requirement (MDLR) on all the parties involved.

Therefore, in the above example, the person or company that loaded the trailer and the transport company which had arranged the consignment are both responsible for the overloading, and they can be prosecuted for this.

However, as we know in most cases a transport inspector will just issue the driver with the infringement.

It is only in on rare occasions that the inspectors will take the matter further and go to the trouble of investigating who else may be responsible and go after them as well. That is more likely to happen where there has been some serious incident.

A driver can potentially get out of paying a fine, if he can show that he did not know, and could not have been reasonably expected to know that a breach would occur, and that either:

  • The driver had taken all reasonable steps to prevent a breach; or
  • There were no reasonable steps that the driver could have been expected to have taken to prevent the breach.

Therefore, if a TWU member thinks they have wrongfully received an infringement or a summons for a breach of the MDLR rules they should contact us ASAP.

The longer you leave it, the more difficult it may be to do something about the situation.