The Queensland Transport Operations (Road Use Management)
Act 1995 has been amended by the Heavy Vehicle Speed
Compliance Act with the insertion of a new Chapter 5D in the
Act. The new provisions are effective from 1 July 2010 and adopt
national reforms in this area, which have been developed after
extensive consultation with various transport industry
The new section 163AA states that:
The main purpose of this chapter
is to improve road safety and compliance with road safety laws by
imposing responsibility for speeding by heavy vehicles on persons
whose business activities influence the conduct of the drivers of
The legislation, while encouraging drivers to remain speed
compliant, acknowledges that drivers are not the only ones
responsible for this issue. The new law targets those in the chain
of responsibility including employers, operators, prime
contractors, schedulers, loading managers, consignors and
The main prohibition introduced is to ensure drivers are not
asked to speed or enter into an agreement which has the effect of
causing the driver to speed.
Further, all the parties in the chain of responsibility are
required to take "reasonable steps" to ensure that their
actions or processes do not end up causing the driver to speed.
This reference to "reasonable steps" ties back to section
s 57D of the Act which remains unchanged by the new laws.
Section 57D provides the the defence of "reasonable
steps" will not be available to a person seeking to avoid
liability if the relevant person had knowledge of the contravention
by the driver or ought to have known about it and did not take
reasonable steps to prevent the contravention, unless no steps
could have been taken.
The Act only provides guidance as to what constitutes
"reasonable steps" without being prescriptive.
Essentially authorities will look at the business practices and
culture in place at the time.
In terms of business practices, authorities will be assessing if
there has been implementation of suitable risk assessment
realistic planning of trips (including contingency
ways of monitoring and identifying risks.
The penalty for breach of the new law, by the chain of
responsibility parties, ranges from a $300 penalty infringement
notice to a maximum of an $8,000 fine. Drivers remain independently
liable for the usual demerit points and penalty infringement
notices that apply.
There are other amendments for certain post-1987 vehicles
regarding speed limiting devices, that introduce a penalty for the
driver and/or the person who permits the driver, to use a heavy
vehicle where the equipment does not comply with Australian Design
Rule 65 or Part 11 of the Transport Operations (Road Use
Management – Vehicle Standards and Safety) Regulations
According to Part 11, these requirements concerning
speed limiter device compliance apply to:
a bus (not a passenger bus or emergency or police vehicle) of
gross vehicle mass over 14.5 tonne
a prime mover (not 2-axle pre-July 1991 used for agricultural,
horticultural or other primary production purposes) of gross
vehicle mass over 15 tonne.
A defect notice will issue against the owner of the vehicle
where the driver has been convicted of an offence which involves a
driver exceeding 110km/hr.
The bottom line is that if a driver of a heavy vehicle speeds,
they will not be the only one liable for a penalty, but so too
anyone else in the chain of responsibility or who has influenced
the conduct of the driver as outlined in the legislation. Reviewing
agreements and trip scheduling, risk management and other workplace
practices and policies is essential to ensure that all reasonable
steps are being taken to discourage the driver to speed.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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