Regulator releases results of five-day blitz from WA border to Port Augusta

A five-day safety blitz from the WA border to Port Augusta has seen a year-on-year drop in mechanical issues, but a slight increase in fatigue-related non-compliance.

In a summary of a May crackdown by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator, it was revealed that officers undertook 140 mechanical checks, finding a rate of 24.5 per cent of “mechanical non-compliance”, a 14 per cent reduction when compared with a similar operation in the same area in 2023.

There were also 138 work diary checks, resulting in a 7.3 per cent rate of fatigue-related non-compliance, which the regulator said represented a 2 per cent increase in fatigue issues compared to the 2023 blitz.

“It’s pleasing to see mechanical non-compliance decrease so significantly in the space of a year, not to mention a large majority of the mechanical defects identified during this operation were very minor,” said NHVR operations manager Stephen Bryers.

“However, the slight increase we saw in fatigue matters only reiterates how important it is for drivers to be vigilant when it comes to complying with their work and rest requirements.

“Throughout the operation, we identified several potential recidivist operators, and officers didn’t hesitate to enforce the HVNL where required for those pushing the envelope on safety, with 16 infringements handed out, in addition to 37 defect notices.

“We want to see safe vehicles, and safe drivers, on our roads.”

In total, officers conducted 151 intercepts over the five days, inspecting more than 480 individual vehicle units.

The NHVR chief operations officer Paul Salvati said officers also provided education on compliance and safety to 82 drivers which was aimed at ensuring they understood the requirements of the law and “equipping them with the knowledge and resources necessary to maintain the highest safety standards”.

“As I have said before, education is an investment in safety – the NHVR is committed to supporting drivers by making sure they are aware of how to comply with the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) and are able to make informed decisions on the road about their safety,” Salvati said.

“This operation was a massive effort by the NHVR’s safety and compliance officers, and authorised officers from MainRoads WA, highlighting the importance of cross border operations.

“Through this collaborative effort we were able to harmonise our regulatory approach and on-road resources to obtain data and intelligence, with heavy vehicle non-compliance identified on both sides of the border.

Salvati said the NHVR is focused on sustainable safety practices, rather than handing out prescriptive fines for minor or accidental offences.

“We want to see long-term change and create a lasting impact that extends beyond our operations.”

Meanwhile, the regulator is planning random mechanical inspections of approximately 8500 trucks, buses, and other special purpose vehicles at roadside and fixed inspection sites and depots across the country from this month.

The checks will be undertaken as part of the regulator’s 2024 National Roadworthiness Survey (NRS) and is expected to take around 12 weeks to complete.

The NHVR says the inspections take an average of 45 minutes to complete, and will include a detailed visual inspection and mechanical component testing via vehicle inspection equipment.

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