Written Reply by Mr Desmond Tan, Minister of State for Sustainability and the Environment, to Parliamentary Question on Truck Covers to Prevent Earth and Sand Spillage, on 4 January 2021
Mr Gan Thiam Poh: To ask the Minister for Sustainability and the Environment (a) how many tipper truck drivers have been issued fines for failure to ensure the adequacy of cover while transporting earth and sand; (b) what is the reason for not holding the company which owns the trucks responsible instead of the drivers employed; and (c) whether the Ministry intends to review this and have a uniform standard cover for all owners of all such trucks and the relevant standard operating procedure for all to comply with.
Between January 2020 to November 2020, the National Environment Agency (NEA) took enforcement action against about 27 drivers for transporting materials such as earth and sand without adequate cover or for causing spillage.
As drivers are in direct control of trucks during transportation trips, it is theirduty to check that the flap covers are not torn, trucks are not overloaded, and that loads are secured and adequately covered, as well as to drive in a careful manner. Hence, enforcement action is taken against the driver, rather than the transport company, if the transported materials are not adequately covered or cause spillage. Nonetheless, transport companies are required to ensure that their truck fleets are installed with suitable flap covers and the covers are functioning well.
NEA does not intend to require a uniform flap cover, which may not be applicable for all types of trucks. In addition, requiring a uniform flap cover may not solve the problem of spillage if there is improper use or lack of adequate checks before driving off. NEA has engaged commercial transport companies, through circulars and reminders, on the importance of providing proper flap covers for their trucks and to inspect their fleets regularly for faulty or torn flap covers. I urge companies to remind their drivers to conduct the basic checks of ensuring that the flap covers adequately cover the transported materials before they drive off, and to remain vigilant on the road. NEA will continue to enforce against drivers who inadvertently cause spillage or fail to cover the materials properly.