Supreme Court doubles trucking fines

29/01/2018 - 13:21

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The Supreme Court of Western Australia has more than doubled the penalty handed down to South Australian trucking company Cleveland Freightlines following an appeal by WorkSafe.

WorkSafe WA says the higher fines will have more deterrence value.

The Supreme Court of Western Australia has more than doubled the penalty handed down to South Australian trucking company Cleveland Freightlines following an appeal by WorkSafe.

The company, which has a depot in Welshpool, has been penalised $58,000 after WorkSafe appealed the $27,000 in fines imposed by the Magistrates Court in 2016.

Cleveland was found guilty of nine charges of failing to ensure work-time records were kept by drivers, while also being charged with failing to ensure appropriate rest time for drivers on six occasions.

The offences occurred in January and February 2015 and the company had been convicted of similar offences on January 7 2015.

The breaches were discovered in the course of a joint operation between Main Roads, WA Police and WorkSafe in Northam.

Cleveland was initially given fines of $9,000 for the nine record keeping offences and $18,000 for the six driving hours offences in the Magistrates Court.

However, after WorkSafe appealed the decision, Justice Bruno Fiannaca said the original punishment was manifestly inadequate and substituted fines of $30,000 and $28,000 while also awarding the state $3,000 in costs.

Justice Fiannaca’s reasons emphasised that the risk of fatigue in long-haul drives, especially from Adelaide to Perth, was significant and that the fines imposed needed to make offending unprofitable.

WorkSafe WA commissioner Ian Munns said he doubted the original penalty would have provided a high level of deterrence to other potential offenders.

“We’re pleased with the Supreme Court’s decision to set aside the original penalty and impose a considerably higher fine,” he said.

“There’s very little deterrence value in a low level fine – the company will simply pay the fine and move on and the serious risks to road safety will remain.”

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