Heavy vehicle checking stations and on-road enforcement have increased inspections as of late 2013. A series of accidents around NSW and other states has prompted a crack down on vehicles that breach the Chain of Responsibility (CoR) regulations including mass, fatigue, speed and maintenance.
Duncan Gay, NSW Minister for Roads, states that Roads & Maritime Service (RMS) has over 280 front line inspectors who are carrying out two million screenings per year. More than 300,000 intercepts and detailed inspections are conducted.
“NSW inspectors will now be given the powers to deregister these trucks [defective vehicles] for up to 3 months if they [transport operators] have not carried out the required repairs,” said Minister Gay.
Operators are under constant pressure to keep fleets fit for duty, with roadside enforcement and checking stations examining more vehicles than ever. Defect notices cost operators $2,000 per vehicle along with the possibility of being grounded – the repercussions felt through out the operation.
Communication is essential. Whether it is a small owner-driver business or a multi-fleet national operation, all compliance requirements including maintenance schedules must be completed in a timely fashion. Management is urged to continuously operate as if being audited. Monthly, quarterly and annual reviews help ensure that the company is prepared for inspections when they do happen.
A clear management plan and maintenance schedule is an effective way to keep track of vehicle conditions and fulfil vehicle compliance regulations. Decisions need to be made early about processes; outlining who will maintain and check documentation and what actions are taken once faults are reported.
A “zero breaches” policy for speed, mass, fatigue and maintenance infringements encourages positive driver behaviour and creates clear staff and operational expectations. Regular training is important in this respect. It enables management to connect with staff on a regular basis as well as consistent reviews of company policies and procedures.
A simple way to keep track of maintenance schedules is to create a vehicle checklist accessible for all staff to view. These checklists cover the important basics that can often be neglected. It can include tyres, windscreen and fluid levels, through to ensuring vehicle mass and configuration is within limits and the driver is sufficiently rested.
Properly maintained vehicles offer a range of benefits including:
- Increased vehicle up-time and operation longevity.
- Better return for investment and improved profit margins.
- Higher operation efficiencies and productivity gains.
- More efficient internal processes and procedures.
All the above procedures are simple ways to help ensure the organisation is compliance-aware and abiding by CoR and its regulations. The tools available, including Pre-Trip Checklist, iFace and its other compliance applications enable easy, efficient and minute-to-minute compliance reporting. Transtech’s introduction of the Pay as you Go (PAYG) Compliance Pack means it’s now easier than ever to gain access to technology that can actually provide real results and immediate return on investment.
Pleading ignorance or any other excuse for any heavy-vehicle that fails roadside and checking station inspections are no longer tolerated. Do right by your drivers. Provide them with well-maintained vehicles that comply with all regulations.