Truck height and length increases up for debate in latest HVNL forum

truck height

Easier ways to record fatigue management, changes to truck mass and dimension limits, and ways to improve auditing standards are up for discussion in the latest round of industry consultation on the newlook Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL).

The three key policy areas form part of the National Transport Commission’s (NTC) Consultation Regulation Impact Statement (C-RIS), with input closing on November 24.

NTC said the C-RIS will test specific policy changes with stakeholders, in line with the package of reforms endorsed by transport ministers in August 2022.

“The goal is to simplify the law to make heavy vehicle operations safer and road freight more efficient,” said NTC CEO Michael Hopkins.

The fatigue section in the C-RIS includes options for streamlining record keeping requirments for operators, including ones to remove duplicate requirements and the administrative processes and offences.

One of the questions also asks if operators would have the confidence to switch to using electronic work diaries, if some of the proposed changes to the enforcement of fatigue-related breaches were adopted.

On the issue of height and length increases, the C-RIS explores interest in the proposoal to increase height limit to 4.6m for general access vehicles, and to increase the length limit to 20m.

“Could reforms that make it easier for operators to operate at increased vehicle length from 19m to 20m lead to any adverse outcomes to road safety or road infrastructure,” asks one of the questions.

To make a submission, and for more information on the C-RIS, visit the NTC website here.

A draft law will be presented to Australia’s transport ministers in mid-2024.

Proposed features of the updated law:

A simpler more flexible law
Simplifying the law will give flexibility for operators wanting to innovate, and certainty for operators wanting simplicity.

More flexible regulatory framework
Prescriptive obligations for parties will be moved down the legislative chain so that the law can adapt quickly to changing needs while taking an outcomes-driven approach.

Improve road network access
Ensuring the law supports improvements to road network access systems and processes.

Fatigue management
Simplified fatigue management without compromising on safety. A risk based regulatory approach that provides industry with clarity of their obligations and fairness in enforcement.

Duties and driver health
Clarifying the primary duty and parties covered by the chain of responsibility.

Codes of Practice
A more, flexible and responsive Code of Practice mechanism to enable the regulator to guide industry on how to meet the primary duty and other obligations under the law.

Better operator certification
A more comprehensive operator certification scheme that can be expanded over time and provide flexibility for certified operators. A new national auditing standard, with measures to reduce the need for multiple audits.

Technology and data
An adaptable technology and data framework to foster smarter technology investment that encourages innovation, enables uptake of emerging technology and provides industry with certainty through a certification mechanism.

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