The National Transport Commission (NTC) is currently reviewing the duties imposed on parties in the chain of responsibility by the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL). It has released a discussion paper that outlines the current HVNL regime, reported problems with the legislation, and the appropriateness of various duty types that may improve the operation of the law.

The paper presents four options:

Option 1 involves the inclusion of an overarching primary duty of care applicable across the entire HVNL and applying to all parties in the chain. The key feature of a primary duty is its comprehensive nature. It would require all parties to consider a wide range of hazards and risks.

Option 2 proposes the inclusion of broad high level duties within the applicable chapters in the HVNL to ensure compliance with speed, fatigue, mass, dimension and loading regulations. A chapter-based duty may also be included in the vehicles standards chapter.

Option 3 would see the HVNL include additional specific obligations on parties in the chain to address specific risks and behaviours. The duties would apply to identified and defined parties. This approach is similar to the current structure provided for in the HVNL.

Option 4 is to make no legislative changes to the current duties regime. Instead, regulators would provide more guidance and education to industry participants on their compliance obligations

Next steps

Stakeholder feedback is currently being considered and a report detailed a preferred approach will be presented to t the Transport and Infrastructure Council meeting in May 2015.

The full discussion paper can be viewed here: Chain of Responsibility Discussion Paper