Speaking in his capacity as a transport insurance representative, Morris says it is a well known fact that if a truck crashes, and in the worst case scenario, injures or kills someone while severely overloaded, the insurance company has the right to deny any claim for damages, and the driver, and also the owner, can end up in jail.
“After all, as they say, ‘the law is the law, is the law’ and we cannot – at any time – condone the breaking of the law on our roads by heavy vehicles – particularly when it compromises safety for all road users,” Morris says.
“Severely overloaded trucks are a definite safety risk in anybody’s book and the days of overloading are long gone across the vast majority of our professional transport operators today.
“The key benefit the C&E legislation has brought our industry is that it makes everybody in the ‘chain’ accountable and liable — from drivers, owners, consignors (ie. farmers), loaders (ie. header operators) and consignees (ie. grain receivers).
“In turn it means the pressure is spread across those who do not abide by the laws, and provides and ‘even playing field’ for law-abiding operators against those who attempt to ‘fleece the system’.”
Mr Morris was responding to a recent story in The Land newspaper stating that “Central West (NSW) truck drivers believed the 2005 harvest was to be a ‘trial and awareness’ year for new grain overloading rules”.
“The reality is that was not the case, and transport operators were well warned beforehand throughout 2005,” Morris says.
Mr Morris highlighted that the RTA conducted many Compliance and Enforcement (C&E) seminars throughout NSW and publicised C&E information in the trade media in 2005, stating that the Road Transport (General) Act 2005 (encompassing C&E laws) would be introduced in September 2005.