Courier giant pays for staff who break laws

The Sun - Herald

Sunday 6 February 2000

GUTTER TACTICS: FedEx vans parked illegally in the North Sydney area.

COURIER and parcel delivery companies are paying fines for drivers who break traffic laws by parking on footpaths, pedestrian crossings, across driveways and in no-go zones.

FedEx has admitted the practice after an investigation by The Sun-Herald and the Pedestrian Council of Australia, which photographed FedEx vans illegally parked.

North Sydney Council chief of ranger services Charles Watson said he saw FedEx vans, courier drivers and armoured cars parked illegally every day in his local government area, which includes Waverton, Wollstonecraft and Cremorne.
‘I had one conversation with a group of eight FedEx drivers who were all parked illegally, ”he said. “I was told to f--- off and when I rang the company I was told their fines are paid every time they contravene the law.

“I see motorbikes driving along footpaths, in parks and on private property. Someone could get hurt.”

Pedestrian Council chairman Harold Scruby said he has written to FedEx warning that if anyone was hurt as a result of illegal traffic activity, the company’s insurance policy would not protect it from liability.

“We have legal advice that if you are knowingly paying these fines when your drivers are actually endangering the lives and safety of others, then the courts have been known to award substantial punitive damages against such companies and their directors for what is known as contumelious (insolent) disregard for the rights and safety of other persons,” Mr Scruby said.

“We believe that the payment of these fines is serving to encourage their employees to stop and park in locations which seriously compromise the safety of others.

“Hardly a day goes by without my witnessing a FedEx vehicle either parked on the footpath, in a no stopping zone or double-parked.

“This is totally unacceptable, especially from an international company which is trying to build a good reputation in Australia. We have requested FedEx immediately cease paying these fines.”

FedEx Australasia managing director Bruce Myers said his company paid the fines of “employees directly involved in its road network”.

“However, we are committed to road safety,” he said.

“We absolutely do ‘not compromise the safety of our drivers or the public for business concerns.

“We have a reward system for employees that drive safely.”