HVIA puts tag trailer mass back on the agenda

With rules around tag trailer mass differing between states, Heavy Vehicle Industry Australia (HVIA) is hoping that long-standing issues surrounding this can soon be resolved.

HVIA’s chief technical officer Adam Ritzinger says rules concerning the maximum mass of tag trailers has historically varied between jurisdictions.

“Prior to the introduction of the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) in 2014, some states imposed a mass limit on tag trailers, while others classified them as semi-trailers and did not impose any specific mass limit at all, other than axle mass limits,” he said.

“In late 2018, the HVNL was updated to formally define tag trailers and limit their mass to no more than the mass of their towing vehicle.

“This change was made without industry consultation, did not include a transition period, and to HVIA’s knowledge was not supported by any safety case or history of prior incidents.

“The negative effects on the industry were immediate and included considerable operational limitations for operators carrying indivisible loads such as mobile plant, and the trailer manufacturers that supplied those operators.”

At the time, HVIA brought up the issue with its members. It then put forward a proposal to regulatory bodies including the National Transport Commission (NTC) and the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) in 2019.

HVIA says the NHVR conducted its own technical investigation and was supportive of changes – and began to work with the NTC to amend the regulations.

“Unfortunately, those changes stalled in 2020 due to a wider and broader review of the entire HVNL that the NTC was undertaking at the time.

“As work on the HVNL is now coming to a close, the issue is back on the reform agenda with the NTC, supported by the NHVR.”

HVIA is hoping the remaining technical queries can be resolved by the end of this year, with changes included in the regulations to be approved in 2024.

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