A trucking company’s fine for failing to comply with safety standards has more than doubled, after a Worksafe WA appeal to the state’s Supreme Court argued that the initial amount was too lenient. Cleveland Freightlines will now pay $58,000, instead of the original $27,000,
Cleveland Freightlines’ offences, which occurred in January and February 2015, include nine counts of failing to ensure their drivers recorded their breaks, and six counts of allowing one driver to work more than seventeen hours. Their negligence was uncovered by a joint operation between the Main Roads Department, WA Police and WorkSafe intended to find intoxicated or fatigued drivers. In December 2016, the Magistrate’s Court of Western Australia fined Cleveland Freightlines $27,000.
In their appeal, Worksafe argued that the original fine did not adequately reflect the size of the trucking business, the seriousness of their negligence or the need to discourage similar oversights in the future. WorkSafe WA Commissioner Ian Munns, pleased with the court’s decision, said that “There’s very little deterrence value in a low level fine – the company will simply pay the fine and move on and the serious risks to road safety will remain.”
Statistics from Road Safety Commission show that fatigue was a factor in 27 fatal crashes in 2016, with 25 people receiving critical injuries. Acting Road Safety Commissioner Iain Cameron said “Fatigue remains the silent killer on our roads, and it can affect anyone behind the wheel, day or night. I would encourage companies to ensure that the safety of their employees and other road users is a priority in planning their work practices, policies and procedures.”
The commission recommends that any driver showing signs of sleepiness should take a break or let someone else take the wheel. Excessive driving times, poor sleep, or staying awake for more than fifteen hours can significantly increase the chance of a fatigue-related crash.
So it’s probably clear that I’ve been taking an indefinite break from this blog. It stopped being fun and started feeling more like a chore, and I wasn’t satisfied with the quality of the writing.
The above article was written as a sample for a trucking trade magazine. Don’t worry, they didn’t use it and I specified the word count and the deadline before writing it, so it wasn’t a dodgy internship or write-for-exposure scenario. This article didn’t get me the job, partially because the subject matter was depressing. The magazine was more interested in improving companies’ reputations than reporting hard-hitting truck news, which makes sense for a publication dedicated to selling advertising space. To their credit, they did say that safety tips in the last paragraph redeemed my article a bit.
I’m posting it here because, say what you’d like about some of the awkward sentences, it’s a pretty good attempt given this was my first serious attempt at anything remotely journalistic. If you’re interested in the sources I used, check out this court transcript, this press release and this information from the Road Safety Commission. Rewriting press releases. for a second there I was like a real journalist!
On the book side of life, the most interesting thing I’ve read this year was The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick, and ‘fucked-up’ could replace ‘interesting’ in this sentence and it’d still be true. It was an experience.