Bridges and tunnels will often have vehicle height restrictions.
So what happens from a Chain of Responsibility
(CoR) perspective if an over-height vehicle
collides with the top of a tunnel or the underside of a bridge?
Under s 611 of the Heavy Vehicle National Law
(HVNL), a court may make a compensation order
requiring a person convicted of a CoR breach to compensate the road
manager for damage caused to road infrastructure as a result of the
offence. In making such an order, the Court must conclude that, on
the balance of probabilities, the damage was caused by – or
partly caused by – the commission of the offence. However,
compensation under s 611 can only be ordered when a CoR conviction
has been recorded. While a vehicle and its load may be over-height
in respect of a particular route, is that still a CoR breach?
Vehicle operations – mass, dimension and loading
Chapter 4 of the HVNL relates to mass, dimension and loading of
heavy vehicles. According to s 94, the purposes of Chapter 4 are to
improve public safety and reduce damage to road infrastructure
"imposing restrictions about...the projections
of loads on heavy vehicles."
The dimension requirements reference "national
regulations" that may deal with the dimensions of the load on
a heavy vehicle. It is an offence to drive a vehicle that does not
comply with the "dimension requirements applying to the
vehicle." There are provisions that apply to projections that
are dangerous to persons or property, but they only apply in the
case of the length and width of the load. However, s 108 contains
something of a catch-all. It applies if a heavy vehicle's load
projects in a way that is dangerous to persons or property, even if
all dimension requirements, and all warning and other requirements
prescribed in the national regulations are met.
Such a breach will ordinarily only be a minor risk breach,
unless it happens at night or in reduced visibility conditions
– this would make it a substantial risk breach. Even if it is
only a minor risk breach, such a breach would be sufficient to
allow the court to make a compensation order in relation to damage
done by the vehicle.
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for legal or other advice that may be relevant to the reader's
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After some delay, Australia's aviation safety regulator, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority , has announced the approval of new rules governing the operation of remotely piloted aircraft in Australia.
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