A NEW South Wales court has dismissed Chain of Responsibility speeding charges brought against a group of trucking companies and their directors.
Six years after facing raids and charges, most of the 217 charges against Fred's Interstate Transport Group have been dismissed or withdrawn.
The court found the defendants took all reasonable steps to prevent the speeding.
One of the defendants pleaded guilty to four speed limiter offences.
Magistrate Theo Tsavdaridis said the defendants proved on the balance of probabilities "the defendants did not know and could not reasonably be expected to have known of the conduct that constituted the offences” and "the defendants took all reasonable steps to prevent that conduct from occurring”.
This case comes in the wake of concerns primary producers had around the changes to the Chain of Responsibility laws.
The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator's CoR manager Kym Farquharson-Jones has been travelling across Australia outlining the changes to many of the businesses which make up the heavy vehicle supply chain.
"These changes are a significant step forward in recognising that everyone in the supply chain has a role to play in heavy vehicle safety,” she said.
She said the amendments coming later this year, on July 1, would align the existing laws more closely with workplace health and safety provisions, which meant that all parties in the chain, including primary producers, must be responsible for breaches by drivers once they were detected.
"Although the laws will change, they will still only apply to activities that a person or business has responsibility for and could influence,” she said.
"In other words, no one will be liable for breaches they cannot control.”
Creevey Russell principal Dan Creevey said the NHVR recognised the important role growers, farmers and fishermen played in feeding Australians and providing quality produce to overseas markets.
He said it was important for primary producers to work with their transporters and fully understand the requirements of the HVNL.
"As a primary producer, any time you send or receive goods using a vehicle that can carry more than 4.5 tonnes, regardless of whether the vehicle is yours or someone else's, you become part of the supply chain,” Mr Creevey said.
"You therefore have a shared responsibility to prevent breaches of the law.
"Avoid making demands of transporters that may lead to speeding, driving while tired or overloading and ensure all loads are within legal limits and properly restrained.
"If you're using your own truck, make sure it's maintained to a roadworthy standard.”
For details about the changes to the legislation, visit www.nhvr.gov.au/cor.