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Safety duties

The regulatory framework in the Commercial Passenger Vehicle Industry Act 2017 (CPVI Act) establishes a general duty of care for each industry participant to ensure the safety of their commercial passenger vehicle service. They comprise:

  • a general duty for each party to take proactive action to manage risks and ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the safety of their services
  • specific duties that are added to match the role of the regulated party and their ability to influence safety
  • additional detail provides in the Commercial Passenger Vehicle Industry Regulations 2018 (CPVI Regulations) regarding risk registers, records and reporting.

What does ‘so far as is reasonably practicable’ mean?

Each participant has a duty to ensure safety ‘so far as is reasonably practicable’ to the standard. What can reasonably and practically be required is always a judgement based on all the relevant facts of a participant’s circumstances.

This means considering the following factors in deciding what is ‘reasonably practicable’ in each situation:

  • the likelihood of the risks involved
  • the degree of harm that would result if the risks eventuate
  • what you know, or ought to know, about the risks and ways to control those risks
  • the availability and suitability of ways to control the risks
  • the cost of controlling the risks.

We are developing further guidance material about safety and the concept of ‘So far as is reasonably practicable’ which will be available soon.

Working together

We work with our partners, targeting our regulatory activities at the following safety-related harms resulting from the provision of commercial passenger vehicle services:

  • traffic accidents involving commercial passenger vehicles and injuring drivers, passengers and members of the public such as other road users
  • harms to passengers from violence, sexual assault and aggressive behaviour; harms suffered by passengers with a disability
  • occupational harms which injure drivers, including violence, aggression, and stress-related illnesses
  • harms to the public caused by the delivery of commercial passenger vehicle services
  • loss of public confidence in the safety of the industry.

How does this work in practice?

The greater the risk and seriousness of the harm posed by the risk, the higher the duty is to take precautions, even if these are expensive or difficult to adopt.

For example, as booking service provider, it is clearly ‘reasonably practicable’ to have appropriate inspection and maintenance checks, administrative procedures, or driver awareness training in place, to address the risks associated with operating a wheelchair accessible vehicle.

However, it may or may not be ‘reasonably practicable’ to install the latest hoist systems if they cannot be adapted to a vehicle or do not have a proven safety benefit, or the effort in terms of costs, time and trouble are not in proportion to the risk.

Having good risk management practices that identify and assess risks, and consider appropriate controls, are important in demonstrating that everything ‘reasonably practicable’ has been done to meet safety duties.

Codes of practice

Codes of practice set out industry standards of conduct and are a practical guide for industry participants on how to comply with their legal duties under the CPVI Act and Regulations.

Codes of practice can relate to a single business, or represent a whole industry, and are usually established through consultation with industry representatives and the community. They can be mandatory or voluntary:

  • mandatory codes provide a minimum standard of protection—they are prescribed as regulations under laws and can be enforced
  • voluntary codes are a form of industry self-regulation—usually flexible and can be altered quickly in response to changing industry/community needs.

We are developing codes of practice for industry participants relating to their safety duties. They contain the things that Commercial Passenger Vehicles Victoria auditors will consider and discuss during the audit process to allow them to complete an assessment of industry participants’ safety cultures.

Consultation on codes will commence in 2019.

Resources

Commercial Passenger Vehicles Victoria has further information on safety duties below.