Australia's roads are remarkably busy, with trucks, cars and motorcycles adding to the range of hazards people need to be aware of. For some road users, however, driving is part of their job, meaning there are some unique laws that govern the way drivers treat other motorists.
As it's an organisation's duty to ensure their actions don't cause undue harm to other people around, businesses that operate in the transport industry need to ensure their vehicles and their drivers' actions don't compromise the safety of other people on the road. If they do, it could result in costly public liability claims.
Statistics from the NSW government confirm that the state's roads are getting more dangerous. For 2016 so far, the road toll is already 13 per cent higher than the same time last year, indicating that there is a greater risk of car accident injury around NSW.
A recent discovery from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in NSW discovered that some trucking companies may be contributing to this issue.
Dangerous loads compromise public safety
The EPA reported on a joint investigation it conducted with the NSW Police to determine how the actions of various truck drivers may be creating public liability claims around the state. While the operation focussed specifically on a two-day period in Newcastle, the results should be considered a warning for other businesses and motorists.
According to the EPA's summary of the events, there were many trucks that were found to be carrying dangerous goods incorrectly. Businesses that frequently transport materials of this nature have strict guidelines that ensure the safety of their drivers and other motorists. If these are breached, the roads become an even more dangerous place.
Manager for the Hunter Region Adam Gilligan reported that there were a number of common errors seen across the investigation, as well as one particularly significant example of how driver actions impact safety.
"The most common offences appeared to be a failure to properly restrain goods during transit and a failure to have appropriate and accurate transport documentation," he explained.
"There was also one driver carrying unrestrained corrosive materials next to foodstuffs."
While the EPA reported handing out almost $4,000 total in fines over the two-day period, there were no major accidents reported.
To find out more about how the actions of organisations can result in public liability claims, contact the lawyers at Gerard Malouf and Partners.