The NHVR has agreed to extend the three-year transitional period for the transition to modern rear marker plates.
The NHVR has agreed to extend the three-year transitional period for the transition to modern rear marker plates.

HVIA appeals crippling cost for marking plates retrofit

THE impending requirement to replace current rear marker plates to meet a new Australian Standard could cost road transport operators well over $40 million according to Heavy Vehicle Industry Australia.

HVIA has appealed to the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator to give a last-minute reprieve to operators who had been expected to retrofit new rear marking plates to all vehicles.

Chief Technical Officer Paul Caus has taken up the case advocating for a reversal of the decision.

“Current transition arrangements mandate that all vehicles were required to have their marker plates replaced before the 1st of January 2021, regardless of their condition,” Mr Caus said.

“That is a cost that the industry can ill-afford right now as we are dealing with a global pandemic.”

HVIA chief executive Todd Hacking is asking the NHVR to reverse the decision and replace it with a performance based standard – allowing existing Class 2 plates to be substituted as they need to be replaced.

It is a regulatory requirement under Heavy Vehicle National Law that marking plates be placed on the rear of all motor vehicles over 12 tonne GVM and trailers over 10 tonne GTM.

The plates are designed to both improve visibility and can also provide the DO NOT OVERTAKE TURNING VEHICLE warning to other motorists.

“It is a sensible update to the Australian Standard,” Mr Hacking said.

“However, it is not so much about improved safety outcomes, but just aligning VSB12 with the advantages of current reflective technologies.”

“The issue was brought to HVIA’s attention by Paul Gallagher at Borcat who was concerned by the cost impact it would have on their customers and the broader industry.

“We are extremely grateful to the NHVR for consideration of the industry’s requests on this issue.”

The discontinuation of Class 2 plates came about following the 2016/17 review of the Australian Standard (AS4001). The review determined that Class 400 (previously known as Class 1) and 1A plates were more durable, offered improved retroreflective performance, and could be smaller than Class 2 plates.

The review also allowed for UN standard reflective materials to be used.

“Considering there are seven months remaining until the transition period ends, HVIA strongly recommends that new build vehicles have Class 400, 1A or UNECE 70 rear marking plates fitted from this point on,” Mr Hacking said.

“This will avoid an unnecessary expense to the operator down the track.”

Full details regarding this transition period and Rear Marking Plate requirements can be found in Vehicle Standards Bulletin 12

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