Australian trucking firm faces 1,000 HOS-related charges

| 3/13/2006

An Australian trucking company has been slapped with more than 1,000 charges for forcing its drivers to exceed the maximum number of hours on the road allowed by law.

The Courier-Mail of Brisbane, Queensland,Australia, reported that the charges filed against Harker Transport represent the largest number of charges yet to be issued under Australia’s chain-of-responsibility laws.

Harker was first investigated in 2001 after one of its drivers was charged with “dangerous driving causing death” after having fallen asleep at the wheel.

The Courier-Mail reported that, in March 2004, Harker pleaded guilty to 46 chargers of drivers working behind the wheel longer than the 12-hour daily maximum outlined by the law of the province of Queensland.

Queensland enacted the 12-hour limit in 2002 and also created laws providing legal protection for drivers who provided information against trucking companies engaged in illegal activities.

The Courier-Mail reported that the charges against Harker are part of a province-wide crackdown on companies that force their drivers to exceed hours limits and that other firms in Queensland could face similar charges.