Trucking firm boss guilty of manslaughter over bad brakes


Peter Colbert receives hefty jail term following the death of a driver in his employ

 

A 12-year jail sentence for a transport operator boss guilty of manslaughter represents a "scary" new benchmark in penalties for non-compliance, an industry consultant has warned.

Peter Colbert was sentenced to 12 and a half years’ imprisonment on Friday, having earlier been convicted over the death of driver Robert Brimson in 2014.

The brakes on the truck Brimson was driving failed, causing him to crash, fatally, into a pole.

The Supreme Court of SA found Colbert had previously been warned several times about the state of the brakes, but did nothing to address the issue.

In sentencing Colbert, Supreme Court justice David Peek labelled him a risk-taker and narcissist who had misplaced arrogance, ABC News reports.

SA-based chain of responsibility consultant Roxanne Mysko says the sentence should be a "wake-up call" for other operators.

While Colbert’s transgressions were significant, every breach of regulations holds a risk of similar liability if a crash takes place, she says.

"This has been coming for the last five or six years," Mysko says.

"The law is the law, and anyone that hasn’t done the right thing is liable to be ‘in it’."

While the sentence was made in South Australia, she says the regulations are federally recognised and will have national implications: "The benchmark has been made now."

Along with maintenance, fatigue compliance is one of the biggest regulatory areas where trucking operators are being caught out, she says.

 

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