The South Australia Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure (DPTI) has welcomed a $100,000 fine imposed against a Hamley Bridge-based transport company that was found to have repeatedly overloaded a B-double during the 2011/2012 grain harvest.
MSR Transport was charged with 18 counts of severe risk breaches of mass, after carrying loads of up to 62.5 tonnes without accreditation.
The truck’s accreditation had been revoked in November 2011, just before the harvest season began.
The department’s acting general manager of operational services, Paul Gelston, says the breaches were both significant and repeated.
“We work very closely with industry, particularly around grain harvesting, and to have an operator working outside safe conditions places everyone on the road at risk,” he says.
The Elisabeth Magistrates Court agreed with the DPTI’s prosecution, fining the company $100,000 plus costs on January 14.
But the fine may have come too late to impact MSR Transport’s specific operations – the company was forced into liquidation by the Federal Court in November last year.
Liquidator Peter Lanthois, of Korda Mentha, says it had ceased all trading a few months prior to that.
The court’s fine will be added to a roster of liabilities to be paid from assets realised, but will not have any priority, Lanthois says.
In some cases, fines can be excluded from the recovery process altogether.
Still, MSR Transport’s current status doesn’t dilute the message the fine should send to the wider industry.
Both the DPTI and the SA Road Transport Association (SARTA) say the risks presented by overloaded trucks are too great to treat the offence as a minor infringement.
“We welcome the decision by the courts and urge all heavy vehicle operators to do the right thing,” Gelston says.
“For those who don’t – they are lucky if the consequences of their actions are only financial”.
SARTA executive director Steve Shearer tells ATN the fine “sends a clear message to anyone else in the industry looking to operate without care or responsibility”.
“It reiterates what we’ve been telling the industry for ages,” Shearer says.
As published by the ATN