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Frequently asked questions

What will the compliance and enforcement legislation do?

Road safety is influenced by many factors. The compliance and enforcement legislation is part of a broader package of measures focused on improving safety on our roads, including Industry Codes of Practice, education and training programs and nationally consistent Enforcement Guidelines.

It is a landmark reform forming a comprehensive foundation to build on for future road safety improvements, as well as seeing significant advances to fairness and productivity in the heavy vehicle industry.

Key features of the legislation

  • ‘Chain of responsibility’ provisions extending legal liability of road law offences to all parties who by their actions, inactions or demands exercise control or influence over on-road conduct.
  • Nationally consistent enforcement powers that reflect laws in related areas such as occupational health safety and welfare and environmental protection.
  • Extensive variety of options that will give the Courts and the Department greater options for targeting the causes of road safety breaches and fostering a culture of compliance within the heavy vehicle industry.
  • Mass, dimension and load restraint offences are categorised into minor, substantial or severe breaches, depending on the level of risk and impact on safety or infrastructure.

Moving towards a ‘culture of road safety’
The new legislation encourages good practice while providing stronger powers to respond to irresponsible or reckless actions by parties on and off the road. The focus is on fostering industry best practice and improving road safety for the whole community.

Modern enforcement powers and a wider range of penalty options will provide a strong incentive to comply while resolving many existing inconsistencies and making the law easier to obey.

Where can I get further information?

The department has prepared fact sheets dealing with the main changes of the new legislation, and to assist you understand the potential impact of the legislation. They should not be taken as legal advice.

For further information, please read the Statutes Amendment (Road Transport Compliance and Enforcement) Act 2006 or contact us by phoning 1300 799 955 or emailing DTEI.Compliance&

Where can I get a copy of the legislation?

Copies of the legislation can be obtained from:

Who is responsible for the new laws?

Over the past five years the National Transport Commission has worked with all road agencies, including the department, police agencies and industry representatives to develop model national compliance and enforcement legislation.

The department is responsible for the implementation of the laws in South Australia, while actual enforcement of these new laws will be undertaken by both South Australia Police (SAPOL) and the department's Transport Safety Compliance Officers.

The new laws will affect a wide range of people involved in the road transport industry including:

  • employers and company directors
  • shippers and freight
  • exporters and importers
  • retailers and wholesalers who receive or consign goods
  • manufacturers
  • farmers and those involved in other primary industries

Which vehicles will the compliance and enforcement laws apply to?

The new laws will apply to both light vehicles (vehicles under 4.5 tonnes) and heavy vehicles (vehicles over 4.5 tonnes).

What are the main features of the legislation?

There are six main features of the legislation:

  • The ‘chain of responsibility’
    Traditionally the law targets drivers and operators for breaches of road laws. However, the conduct of other people, such as customers, loaders and packers, often has a significant influence on road safety. Under the new chain of responsibility provisions everyone will have a responsibility to take all reasonable steps to ensure safety on the road.
  • Absolute liability and a ‘reasonable steps’ defence
    • Many offences will carry higher standards of liability, including absolute liability.
    • The only defence available in most circumstances will be that you took all ‘reasonable steps’ to prevent a breach.
    • One way of demonstrating that you took ‘reasonable steps’ would be to comply with an Industry Code of Practice registered by the department.
  • Corporate and manager’s liability
    • A five times corporate multiplier for offences committed by a body corporate.
    • Personal liability for directors, company secretaries, partners and senior managers.
  • A wider range of innovative penalties
    • Penalties for making a profit out of a road law breach.
    • Powers to suspend or prohibit a person/business from being involved in road transport.
    • Breaches ranked according to safety risk.
  • Stronger enforcement powers
    • Expanded powers to enter, search and inspect vehicles and premises.
    • Comprehensive powers to direct people involved in the transport of goods.
    • A broad power to require reasonable assistance from any person involved in the transport of goods or passengers.
  • Container weight declarations
    There will be specific provisions dealing with overweight shipping containers. Every person who deals with a container will be required to complete a ‘container weight declaration’ and will be liable if that declaration is inaccurate or false.

Who is included in the ‘chain of responsibility’?
Consignors, loaders, packers, drivers, operators, receivers, employers, company directors, partners and senior managers.

When will the new legislation become law?

The compliance and enforcement legislation known as the Statutes Amendment (Road Transport Compliance and Enforcement) Act 2006 came into force on Monday 30 April 2007.

This amending Act will introduce the model legislation into South Australia through amendments to the Road Traffic Act 1961, the Motor Vehicles Act 1959 and makes consequential amendments to the Summary Offences Act 1953.

Is compliance and enforcement legislation applicable in all Australian States and Territories?
New South Wales and Victoria have already introduced the C&E legislation, while other Australian States and Territories are expected to implement the legislation within the next 6-12 months. While Queensland has yet to introduce the compliance and enforcement legislation, chain of responsibility legislation has been in place in Queensland since 1998.


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