I have received a summons to attend trial after one of my employees was hit with section 85 (1) under HTA.
i noticed there is no real set fine, and could actually go anywhere from $200 to $20,000.
Has anyone come across this one before? Please let me know your thoughts if you have any.
Background info: Our company straight truck was hardly used, so management decided to take it off the road, return the plates and put it up for sale. A company employee, unknowing of the situation took off with the truck before management could stop him. the employee obviously did not do a pre-trip inspection, or would have noticed missing plates. (pretty sure both gone off)
I'm assuming you got the summons as a company director and the company was charged?
You are going to have to show a lot of diligence on this one. How did the driver get the keys and make it out of the yard? Or put another way, what steps did the company take to make sure an unplated truck could not be driven?
This can't be an "oops" where you pull the plate and put the keys back on the key rack. The company cannot simply rely on the driver's pre-trip inspection to catch this. You have to show employer diligence.
You've got to show written policies/procedures for handling this circumstance, communications to drivers, posted signage or something else. And there has to be an explanation of what went wrong which would have to show an extreme not contemplated circumstance.
You should also work on your post sentencing strategy. Revised procedures, expressions of remorse and enhanced training to drivers and management. In other words, an understanding of the gravity of the situation and a clear and concise plan to deal with the aftermath.
That's the difference between a minimum fine for an otherwise diligent company and a major wake-up fine for a sloppy employer.
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