Both Woolworths and Coles have defended their truck safety records.

Both Woolworths and Coles have defended their truck safety records.

Coles and Woolworths have defended their respective safety records after the NSW government said the retail giants were among leading companies warned to make sure truck drivers were not risking lives to meet tight delivery deadlines.

The Sunday Canberra Times reported that NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay said his government was increasingly prepared to prosecute directors of companies that set deadlines that forced drivers to break the law.

Roads and Maritime Services officials said they were acting after unsafe industry practices were revealed in a series of notorious trucking disasters, including one that killed two people when a petrol tanker rolled over and burst into flames at Mona Vale in Sydney's northern beaches region in October.

A spokesman for Coles said the supermarket chain did not employ its own transport drivers but worked with large and reputable companies, such as Linfox and Toll, that had the best safety records in the industry.

''We take our responsibilities very seriously, which is why we work with the best suppliers and make safety an integral part of our relationship, with regular audits and monitoring to ensure compliance,'' the spokesman said.

''The NSW RMS confirmed that no enforcement notices were issued to Coles during their recent campaign despite more than a thousand notices being issued for vehicle faults. We are never complacent but this shows that our suppliers are as focused on safety as we are,'' he said.

A spokeswoman for Woolworths underlined the retailer's good safety record and noted that no compliance notices had been issued to the company.