Chain of Responsibility

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Although first implemented in 2014, the HVNL (Heavy Vehicle National Law) was amended in October, 2018, to ensure that every party in the heavy vehicle transport supply chain has a duty to ensure the safety of their transport activities. That includes the following parties:

  • Company Director(s)
  • Senior Management
  • The employer of a driver
  • The contractor if the driver is self-employed
  • an operator of the vehicle (driver)
  • Vehicle schedulers
  • Loading manager for any goods in the vehicle
  • Loader and/or unloader of a vehicle (including any goods in the vehicle)
  • Consignor/consignee of any goods for transport by the vehicle

It is clear to see, that it is not just the driver’s responsibility, and that anybody involved in the processes relating to transport can be held responsible for breaches of road laws.

In fact, it is explicitly declared that Executive duty cannot be wholly delegated. It is expected now that Executive management now are knowledgeable about how and what the businesses is doing to ensure that its transport activities are safe. That the understand hazards and risks, including to the public. That they have strong processes to manage the risks, and also how they respond when incidents occur. Bottom line, is that Executive management of businesses that have an element of Transport activities have an active duty in compliance to the CoR laws, even if not directly involved in physical transport activities.

The relevance of all parties involved in the transport chain is designed to ensure that no party will have an effect or influence that may reward, encourage, or any sort of incentive that may break the HVNL.


Penalties for CoR breaches are significant. Corporations can be fined up to $3,000,000 for a Category 1 offence. Individuals can be imprisoned for up to 5 years, or $300,000 for the same.

When does the HVNL apply?

The HVNL is administered by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) and the HVNL applies to vehicles that weigh over 4.5 Gross Tonnes.

Who is the NHVR?

The NHVR is an independent regulator of vehicles over 4.5 gross tonnes vehicle mass. They aim to remove the burden of compliance and duplication and inconsistencies between states and territories by means of frameworks and policies.  They have implemented the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme and also a Performance-based Standards Scheme. The HVNL was introduced in February 2014.

Some Examples of Non-Driver Breaches.

  • Management who do not ensure all driers licences and any other credentials that they may require are valid, in date, and correct, which could result in a driver operating a vehicle while unlicensed.
  • Logistics or Transport Schedulers designing impractically tight schedules that put pressure on drivers to speed, miss fatigue management breaks, exceed hours, or take other risks to meet the timeframes.
  • Pressure by consignees or consignors to overload a vehicle’s maximum weight limits to achieve single deliveries rather than multiple trips.

More about the penalties.

When there is an incident, authorities will work their way backwards from the event, all the way through to Company Directors to see if there were any factors beyond the actions of the driver or vehicle that may have contributed to, or caused the event. The courts will determine the level of prevention that could have been reasonably applied to prevent the incident, and where no evidence or effort to prevent breaches of the HVNL can be provided, the penalties can be severe, let alone the reputational loss.

“Individuals can be imprisoned for up to 5 years, or fined up to $300,000!”

What can you do?

Proactive management and reporting of all aspects of the transport chain is the most effective approach to maintaining CoR compliance.

Driver diaries are the obvious go-to piece, where-as back-office or processes not specifically about the vehicle are often forgotten. Using a digital workflow solution, you can easily build compliance schedules and actions that monitor and manage information. Some “quick-win” applications of a digital Workflow solution are:

  1. Licence Management
    1. Monitor and manage the currency of licences and accreditations
  2. Permit Management
    1. Manage the application, use and currency of any required permits
  3. Vehicle Management
    1. Manage the currency of registrations, insurance, maintenance and other vehicle related requirements.
    2. Manage the Mass, Dimension and Loading of the vehicle


What can we do to help?

Contact us now to see how our powerful workflow engines can drive proactive monitoring and reporting of your transport related activities.