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Heavy fines after "chain of responsibility" convictions


An Auckland transport firm has had its Transport Service Licence revoked after it was successfully prosecuted by the NZ Transport Agency for allowing its drivers to breach work time and logbook rules.

The Company Director of K B Contracting, Kelly Barbarich, was accused by the NZTA of breaching the “chain of responsibility” section of the Land Transport Act.  The chain of responsibility recognises that all the people, including directors and owners, who influence the behaviour of drivers and compliance with the law must be held accountable for breaches.

The NZTA says Barbarich was convicted in the Manukau District Court earlier this month of ten charges – eight laid by the NZTA and two by the Police – relating to the misuse of work-time and logbook rules.   He was fined a total of $25,000, plus $1300 court costs. 

In addition to the court penalties, K B Contracting’s Transport Service Licence was revoked by the NZTA, meaning it can no longer operate.   The company operated a fleet of five trucks for general cartage, and for carrying aggregate, earth and blacktop for roading projects. 

The NZTA’s evidence said the company’s drivers regularly ignored the maximum of 13 hours work before they were required by law to take a continuous rest period of at least 10 hours.  The NZTA told the Court it was clear that K B Contracting’s owner condoned his drivers breaching work-time and logbook rules, and would have been fully aware of the hours they worked.   

The successful prosecution has been welcomed by Ian Gordon, the General Manager of the NZTA’s
Access and Use regulatory division, who said the fines and the TSL revocation reflected the seriousness of the offending.

“The safety of people is put at risk by companies which cut corners, or ignore or encourage abuses of the law.” Mr Gordon said.  “The NZTA is determined to regulate firmly and fairly to keep the roads safe for everyone – and that includes those people behind the wheel of K B Contracting’s trucks.”

In separate prosecutions, several of the company’s drivers were convicted and fined for exceeding work-time and logbook rules.