Minister slams transport company over breaches

The NSW Government has sent a warning to the heads of a large national trucking company after inspectors found repeated safety faults with its trucks, weeks after a fatal accident.

Roads Minister Duncan Gay grounded a Cootes Transport LPG tanker on Thursday and explicitly reminded the management and directors that they could be held liable for the fleet’s safety under Chain of Responsibility legislation.

A Cootes petrol tanker was involved in a fatal crash in Mona Vale in early October, leading to a inspection blitz on the company’s fleet. More than 500 trucks have been intercepted and inspected, with 421 defect notices issued, including 224 major defect notices and 10 vehicles grounded.

“I am absolutely astonished we continue to uncover serious defects in the Cootes Transport petrol and gas tanker fleet,” Guy says.

“The head of the company has been put on notice under national Chain of Responsibility legislation that the Board of Directors and management are responsible for the safety and roadworthiness of its fleet.

“The short story is if they don’t shape up, we will have no choice but to ground the Cootes fuel tanker fleet in NSW. We have a clear duty of care to other road users.”

In one case, a Cootes LPG tanker was detected at Mount White Heavy Vehicle safety station with a leaking gas valve.

NSW Hazmat provided a temporary fix for the leak and ordered the driver to go directly to Taree to have the valve permanently repaired before returning to service.

The same truck was detected at Mount White travelling in the opposite direction early Saturday morning without the repairs being completed.

Chain of Responsibility laws mean the management and directors of companies involved in supply chains can be held legally responsible for road offences.

Read our in-depth feature here.