HVIA says yes, and no, to proposed changes to vehicle width

Yes to wider trucks, but keep the status quo on trailers.

That’s the early feedback from the Heavy Vehicle Industry Association’s (HVIA) state committees during discussions of proposed changes to the Australian Design Rules (ADR) governing vehicle width.

Industry stakeholders have until June 30 to make a submission to the Australian Government’s Safer Freight Vehicles discussion paper. This paper seeks feedback on possible regulatory changes to facilitate an increased take up of safer and cleaner heavy freight vehicles in Australia.

“This discussion paper proposes the relaxation of ADRs to incentivise safer and more productive heavy vehicles,” said Greg Forbes, the HVIA’s national policy and government relations manager.

“Proposed changes to vehicle width have generated a diversity of views, particularly between truck and trailer manufacturers.

“I am reluctant to pre-empt the Victorian State Committee’s position before they meet next week, however all things being equal, it seems likely we will have broad consensus around the country.

“At this stage HVIA would support Option 1b, which involves increases in vehicle width for motor vehicles (trucks) to 2.55m with load restraint devices out to 2.6m but preservation of the current width rules for heavy trailers.”

The discussion paper covers three main types of changes:

  • Exemptions to width and length for indirect vision devices
  • options for additional width in exchange for the fitment of vehicle safety technologies
  • changes to axle transition masses, axle spacings and rear overhang regulations to encourage safer and more productive vehicles.

HVIA members were supportive of the proposed changes to indirect vision devices and for the treatment of axles.

Forbes said that subject to outcomes from the Melbourne meeting, HVIA’s response will reflect those opinions.

“We will also raise the issue of steer axle mass concessions for vehicles fitted with safety features,” he added.

These changes are expected to have a positive impact on road safety, while reducing regulatory burden, according to the paper’s author, the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications.

“If implemented, there would be less need for manufacturers to re-design or modify vehicles available in other markets, which would make it easier and cheaper for many manufacturers to supply vehicles fitted with the latest safety and emission control technologies to the Australian market,” the paper said.

“The additional safety systems would help drivers to be more aware of their surrounds, including to avoid and/or mitigate the severity of any collisions with other road users.

“Further, the changes proposed in relation to vehicle axle configuration would help manufacturers to supply vehicles that are more efficient and/or productive, including vehicles able to complete the same freight task in fewer trips, which reduces both transport costs and exposure related crash risks.”

To read the full discussion paper, click here. For details on how to make a submission, go here.

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