HVNL REFORM: The NTC said PBS vehicles offer operators gains in safety, productivity and sustainability but can face access restrictions and administrative hurdles because of legacy arrangements.
HVNL REFORM: The NTC said PBS vehicles offer operators gains in safety, productivity and sustainability but can face access restrictions and administrative hurdles because of legacy arrangements.

HVNL Review: Have your say on what is regulated

THE National Transport Commission has released its latest discussion paper to help inform a comprehensive review of the Heavy Vehicle National Law.

The 40-page Vehicle Standards and Safety report is the fifth of eight papers exploring issues on effective fatigue management, access to suitable routes, safe people and practices, and vehicle standards and safety.

The purpose of this paper is to:

  • summarise the current vehicle standards and safety provisions in the HVNL
  • identify the problems in the current law and how it is applied
  • identify options for vehicle standards and safety regulation using a risk-based approach
  • identify the safe and productive vehicle issues that a revised law should cover
  • seek feedback on whether this paper has captured all the relevant issues.

In the report's executive summary, the NTC said that in general vehicle safety is working well and vehicle standards are harmonised and safety risks are relatively well-managed.

"Despite this, there are still issues and gaps that offer opportunities for improvements to the law,” it said.

"Safer and more productive vehicles and safety technologies face a range of barriers, limiting their uptake.”

The NTC said PBS vehicles, for example, offer operators gains in safety, productivity and sustainability but these vehicles face access restrictions and administrative hurdles because of legacy arrangements. As a result, operators are discouraged from taking up PBS vehicles.

"Another consequence is that the entry of more innovative vehicles into the prescriptive heavy fleet has stalled. Prescribed limits for vehicle mass and width are limiting entry of safer vehicles into Australia.

"Some vehicles produced internationally with the latest safety technology face delays and modification at best. At worst, they are prevented altogether from operating in Australia.”

The summary also highlights the fact that the HNVL in its current form doesn't encourage, or even recognise, the uptake of some safety technologies.

"Furthermore, heavy vehicle inspection and enforcement practices vary across jurisdictions. This can cause inconsistencies with processes - and even outcomes - across state and territory borders. As a result, safety and regulatory efficiency are compromised.”

You have until August 30 to have your say on these issues.

To make an online formal contribution, visit www.ntc.gov.au and select 'Submissions' from the top navigation menu.

For a postal response, mail to:

National Transport Commission

Public submission - Vehicle standards and safety

Level 3, 600 Bourke Street

Melbourne VIC 3000

The next group of issues papers will cover 'how to regulate' the HVNL, including assurance and managing compliance.

For more information on the review timeline, upcoming key dates and further project updates, see the HVNL Review site.

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