Voiced serious concerns over safety checks for large transport companies: NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay. Photo: Jonathan Carroll
The head of the new national organisation in charge of regulating large trucks has agreed with concerns raised about the standard of safety auditors after the double fatality in Mona Vale caused by an out-of-control Cootes fuel tanker this month.
Fairfax Media reported on Sunday that safety recommendations made after a similar accident four years ago - in which four people, including two children, died when a fuel tanker rolled and burst into flames on the south coast - have still not been implemented.
NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay has voiced concerns about the way safety checks are made for large transport companies such as Cootes.
Mr Gay said some trucks that drove through NSW owned by companies such as Cootes were often regulated in other states, where the companies could ''pick and choose'' the private auditors that inspected the vehicles.
Mr Gay wrote to the chairman of the new National Heavy Vehicle Regulator, Bruce Baird, last week, asking him to conduct a review of the way other states signed off on truck maintenance.
On Sunday, Mr Baird said that Mr Gay had ''good reason'' to be concerned.
''I'm sympathetic to his comments,'' said Mr Baird, a former NSW transport minister. ''We are having a teleconference tomorrow with the board. There appears to be some discrepancies between the standards of the various auditors.''
The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator was established this year to take over the accreditation scheme for large trucks. But many of the accreditations are still being carried out by state bodies, which have different standards.
Cootes, for instance, which has been issued with 244 defect notices on its fleet since the Mona Vale crash on October 1, registers its vehicles in Victoria, even though many are used to drive in NSW.
On Sunday, Fairfax Media reported that recommendations made by a coroner after a Cootes tanker rolled on the Pacific Highway near Batemans Bay in 2011 - killing the driver and a father and two daughters travelling in another car - had not been acted upon. These recommendations included retrofitting ''stabilisers'' to help prevent trucks from rolling.
A spokeswoman for Mr Gay said: ''This is a company regulated in Victoria, which further highlights our concerns over the national truck accreditation scheme.''