Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane continue to be the hardest hit by petrol shortages as more than 100 Cootes fuel tankers are removed from roads to be grounded or repaired following a Cootes tanker crash in Sydney last week.
In the fatal collision a petrol tanker lost control, smashed into four cars and exploded into a fireball killing two people and hospitalizing a further five. The police onsite found that a mechanical defect in the petrol tanker may have been involved.
Following the accident authorities have grounded 79 Cootes trucks in Victoria and 23 in NSW with serious defects.
It is expected that Cootes will face prosecution following an investigation if it is found that they have breached the road safety act.
The investigation will be performed under the model Road Transport Reform (Compliance and Enforcement) Bill also known as Chain of Responsibility (CoR). CoR is a legislation that extends beyond the walls of a business and focuses on road accidents involving commercial vehicles. The aim of CoR is to ensure that those who bear responsibility for the conduct of commercial vehicles on our roads are held accountable for breaches of road safety.
One of the 12 major elements of CoR is vehicle suitability and maintenance which has been reflected in the grounding of 100 of Cootes fuel tankers from the road.
Recent research has found that transport companies like Cootes are often exposed to unintended (and intended) breaches CoR legislation. Apart from the obvious damage to their reputation, which could spell the end for the company, Cootes also face possible prosecution and fines running into the millions of dollars. Additionally under this legislation, Cootes senior and executive managers also risk personal penalties including; personal fines, lengthy community service orders if they are found to be negligent under CoR. CoR requires, transport companies to implement a business system which provides documentary and auditable evidence to prove compliance with the legislation.
Andrew McKellar (Australian Automobile Association) said in an in interview on the ABC’s 7:30 report – “There’s been certainly a very tragic set of circumstances here where people have lost their lives. It’s got to stop there. Lessons have got to be learnt and quick action has got to be taken to ensure that others in the community are not being placed at risk”.
This tragedy has once again highlighted the need for transport companies to comply with CoR, and that breaches of this legislation can not only affect the transport community but also affect the community at large and tragically in an instance such as this, take people’s lives.
Any working within the transport industry can no longer afford to be ignorant of the laws, under CoR everyone involved the chain can be held accountable.
Want to know more about CoR and how it can affect you? Go to: http://latus.edu.au/logistic-compliance/