THE National Transport Commission (NTC) has released four packages of options designed to improve the roadworthiness of the heavy vehicles that use Australia's road networks.
CEO of the NTC Paul Retter encouraged governments, the heavy vehicle industry and all other interested parties to consider the merits of the options contained in the Draft Consultation Regulatory Impact Statement released today.
"Heavy vehicles will always be an important part of Australia's economy. Our challenge is to make them as safe as possible. The safety of all road users must be our primary consideration," Mr Retter said.
"While the condition of heavy vehicles is just one of many factors that affect Australia's road toll, we need to do what we can to reduce any crashes caused by poorly maintained vehicles. Safer trucks means safer travel for everyone.
"By improving heavy vehicle roadworthiness we will be able to reduce the pain of road trauma, increase the productivity of truck fleets and also reduce traffic congestion caused by truck breakdowns."
Mr Retter said the latest statistics showed that 213 Australians died in crashes involving heavy vehicles in the past 12 months.
Each of the four packages of options includes potential changes to inspection processes and procedures, education and training, greater capability to target the highest risks, scheduled inspections, accreditation schemes, and possible changes to chain of responsibility laws.
The options were developed in the course of the National Heavy Vehicle Roadworthiness Program which is a joint undertaking by the NTC and the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator.
"People should bear in mind that none of these packages represent final decisions but are instead designed to encourage feedback from stakeholders on areas of possible reform," Mr Retter said.
Mr Retter said the NTC would now actively consult stakeholders about these options and will present its final recommendations to Australia's transport ministers in July this year for their consideration.
He encouraged any interested parties to have their say about these options via the NTC's website before Monday, 23 March 2015.
"Anyone making a submission should include evidence where possible, to ensure any changes best reflect the needs of Australia's heavy vehicle industry, other road users and the Australian public," Mr Retter said.
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