New ‘chain of responsibility’ laws will be introduced into WA on 27 April, 2015. This represents a significant milestone for road safety in WA and is likely to impact on many small businesses involved in the distribution of goods by road.

The new laws recognise the responsibilities of all parties involved in the transportation of goods by road, not just the driver. The laws aim to improve road safety and thereby protect lives and property, reduce infrastructure damage, promote a level playing field for industry, and improve business efficiency and compliance.

While the new laws mean little change for drivers, there will now be more people responsible along the ‘chain’. If you are involved in any of the following road transport activities, you will become a party in the chain of responsibility and may be held liable in the event of a breach of road laws:

  • Consigning – a person or company commissioning the carrying of goods
  • Packing – placing goods in packages, containers or pallets
  • Loading – placing or restraining the load of the vehicle
  • Driving – the physical act of driving a vehicle
  • Operating/managing – operating a business which controls the use of a vehicle used to transport goods
  • Receiving – paying for the goods/taking possession of the load

The law also extends to company directors, employers, unincorporated associations and partners in a managed partnership.

Don’t get caught out. Check the full details, including an upcoming free information session in Fremantle on the 12th of March, on the website of Main Roads.