Chain of Responsibility (CoR)

Chain of Responsibility law ensures that everyone on and off the road that is involved in the supply chain is equally responsible for complying with Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL). Changes to CoR mainly concern risk management. Chain of Responsibility is the extension of legal liability beyond drivers to other parties in the supply chain. The Laws now require parties in the chain to actively identify, assess and control hazards and transportation risks, and specifically notes that each person in the chain has a duty to ensure safe transport practices.

The parties in the CoR for a heavy vehicle are:

• a prime contractor for a vehicle if the vehicles driver is self-employed
• an operator of the vehicle
• a scheduler for the vehicle
• a loading manager for any goods in the vehicle
• a loader and/or unloader of a vehicle
• a consignor of any goods for transport by the vehicle
• a consignee of any goods in the vehicle
• a loader / unloader of any goods in the vehicle.

It can be easy to drown in the detail, but at a high level the key changes that come into effect on 1 October 2018 are:

Removal of deemed liability which made a party in the chain guilty until proven innocent, this is replaced with the normal presumption of innocence

Addition of vehicle standards to the CoR regime, joining speed, mass/dimension/loading and fatigue.

Big increases to maximum penalties, to $300k and 5 years imprisonment for individuals and $3 million dollars for corporations, per offence.

Removal of requirement for a ‘primary breach’ to occur, previously in order to prosecute up the chain for a speeding offence under CoR, first it had to be demonstrated that a vehicle had broken the speed limit. Now simply failing to manage the risk of non-compliance is an offence.

A change in the required standard from ‘reasonable steps’ to ‘so far as reasonably practicable’, this aligns to the requirements under workplace health and safety law.

Insurance cover is quite limited, please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss. We will be pleased to look at your individual circumstances.

To find out more about these changes and how they may affect you, please visit