More defects found in Cootes Fleet

More defects found in Cootes Fleet

7 February 2014

Cootes Transport may face immediate registration suspension of defected trucks if heavy vehicles continue to fail compliance checks.

Earlier this week Cootes was directed to send 20 trucks to Wetherill Park inspection station for compliance checks.

The ongoing operation follows the fatal Mona Vale in October last year in which two people were killed.

Investigations carried out after the fatal crash by the Roads and Maritime Services and NSW Police Highway Patrol joint heavy vehicle taskforce uncovered hundreds of defects in the company’s fleet.

Roads Minister Duncan Gay said unfortunately it seems the systematic negligence of this company is continuing.

"Overnight 15 vehicles were inspected, with eight issued with defect notices (five major and three minor) for issues including brake and suspension faults," Mr Gay said.

"While this is a better result than some of our initial operations, it is absolutely unacceptable the company is ignoring its duty of care to other road users and continuing to operate unsafe trucks on our road network.

"Only yesterday a Cootes fuel tanker pulled up in a bus bay on Pennant Hills Road and caused traffic delays after it was found to be leaking fuel.

"While the fuel was coming from the truck’s fuel tank and not the main tanker, it still posed a significant safety risk to other road users.

"The truck was escorted back to the Wetherill Park inspection station and found to have major defects for brake and steering issues and was immediately directed off the road for repairs.

"This is not acceptable. What makes it worse, the vehicle had last been inspected on 2 October, a day after the fatal crash on Mona Vale Road.

"On that occasion it was defected for steering, brake, air and oil leak issues."

"It is frustrating to know the truck has travelled around 40,000km since then and again has been defected for major safety breaches."

Mr Gay said on earlier this week, another vehicle inspected at the 12 Mile Heavy Vehicle Checking Station was found to have multiple brake defects and was also directed to be removed from service. "Cootes should have picked up its game better than it has. This is simply not good enough. The lives of thousands of road users are at risk each time a defective truck is sent out on the road.

"We have the toughest and most active heavy vehicle checking regime in the country.

"Every day NSW Police and Roads and Maritime officers are enforcing road safety regulations on our roads and we will continue to relentlessly focus on unsafe driving and equipment offences.

"We make no apology for continuing our operations to ensure the company is managing its obligations to operate safe heavy vehicles.

"If we have to deregister the defected trucks to send a stronger message to Cootes management, we will do so.

"Deregistering the vehicles with major defects will remove unsafe trucks from the road. Before registration is reinstated vehicles will need to be further inspected by Roads and Maritime to ensure compliance with safety standards."

The taskforce will continue to carry out spot checks of the fleet to ensure ongoing compliance for the safety of all road users.

MEDIA: Lance Northey 0467 743 192 Marie Scoutas 0467 739 976

View or download the original media release (PDF)

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