The Chairman of Australia Trucking Association (ATA) announce that he wants Chain of Responsibility (CoR) to extend to truck maintenance and Electronic Stability Control (ESC), and for this to be mandated to some carriers that are known to be dangerous.
At the Technical and Maintenance Conference, Australian Trucking Association (ATA) Chairman David Simon in his address said that changes in the regulations will be pushed to improve the trucking industry’s vehicle safety and maintenance standards. According to Simon, the recent event including Cootes Transport’s tanker showed the trucking industry’s lack of commitment to maintenance and safety. This is because the incident with Cootes Transport’s tanker caused authorities to conduct several heavy vehicle enforcement operations, revealing a number of serious truck defects.
In addition, Simon said that with difficult times, some executives find it easy to alter a few numbers in their reports and cut back on some maintenance that they believe that it might not matter. “My personal view is that we should extend CoR to vehicle maintenance. This would compel businesses and their senior managers to take reasonable steps to make sure you can do your jobs properly, for example, by ensuring you have adequate budgets, resources and training,” says Simon.
The Chain of Responsibility is applied to vehicle dimensions, speed, load restraint, vehicle mass and driver fatigue. This rule signifies that everyone involved in the supply chain can be held responsible whenever they fail to comply on a mandated rule. Also, Simon reiterated that the support of ATA is necessary through reviewing the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme (NHVAS). With this, he gave his partial support to a 2011 coronial recommendation for the New South Wales Government to mandate ESC for all the dangerous goods trucks.
Simon also believes that imposing the requirements could single out other dangerous goods trucks. The requirements should exempt other trucks that carry for example, domestic cleaning products that are still considered larger load. Instead, the rule shall urgently apply to trucks carrying loads in bulk with explosives,, radioactive substances and flammable or combustible liquids.
The chairman also favored the trucking industry for carrying out the accident investigation system, which is used for accidents of planes. “One of the reasons air travel is so safe is its accident investigation system. In Australia, the job is done by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), which also looks at marine and rail accidents,” he says.
“The ATSB looks beyond the immediate causes of accidents to the organizational and management issues that allow them to happen. When it does issue recommendations, it pushes them until it gets an adequate response. Its recommendations and the responses are all public and easy to find.”
Simon believes that the ATSB’s recommendations should be considered seriously, and for everyone to have access to the database, including the general public, media, safety investigators and other players in the industry. “It’s a big step, but we would learn more from each fatal truck crash than we do now. And there would be more action to stop future accidents from happening,” he says.