HVNL to improve consistency across penalties

According to National Transport Commission (NTC) CEO, Paul Retter, the proposed changes to the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) will improve consistency across penalties and mean more offences can be dealt with fines rather than putting needless strain on our courts.

The new changes proposed will see truck drivers being treated more fairly, however, penalties applied to some offences committed by non-driving personnel will increase substantially. Some of the recommended changes include the aligning of penalties for persons forcing drivers to drive whilst fatigued by way of allocation or trip planning schedules to be the same as for the driver committing the same offence.

“In an ideal world we wouldn’t need penalties to keep our roads safe. But in practice we need fair penalties that appropriately punish those responsible for any systematic breaches of the road rules,” Retter said.

“Thanks to these proposed changes, police and authorised officers will be able to issue infringement notices for four additional offences that in the past had been dealt with in courts.

“We have also proposed changes to ensure similar offences attract similar penalties across the HVNL, making them more consistent and fair. We know that operators and drivers of most heavy vehicles are increasingly taking their own safety and the safety of other road users seriously because we have seen this reflected in steadily improving heavy vehicle fatality and injury statistics.

“Consistent penalties for similar offences help make sure everyone in the industry understands what is unacceptable and dangerous and, importantly, the consequences of breaking the rules.”

These changes were endorsed by the recent meeting of state transport ministers held in May. Draft laws will be presented to transport ministers in November with a view to implementing them in 2015. The recommendations can be viewed on the NTC website.

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