Australia, Transport News

HVIA celebrates historic heavy vehicle width announcement

HVIA is celebrates the historic truck width announcement as a positive step forward for the industry

Federal assistant transport minister Carol Brown has announced the federal government’s landmark decision to increase the overall width limit for trucks in Australia to 2.55 metres.

The announcement increases the overall width limit from 2.50 to 2.55 metres for new trucks that are fitted with a number of safety features.

These include devices to reduce blind spots, electronic stability control, advanced emergency braking, a lane departure warning system, better reflective markings and side guards to stop pedestrians and cyclists from being caught up under the rear wheels of trucks.

Additionally, several safety devices and sensors will be able to be fitted to trucks without counting towards width and length measurements. These include front and kerb view mirrors, external parts of camera monitor systems, blind spot sensors, and cross-view mirrors.

The overall width limit for buses and trailers won’t change, however, they will also benefit from more safety devices being excluded from width and length measurements.

The government estimates the changes will provide a net benefit of more than $500 million to the Australian economy by reducing the number of road freight trips businesses will need to take, saving them money and lowering their environmental impact.

HVIA CEO Todd Hacking says the historic announcement is a huge step forward for the industry and HVIA’s many members who will benefit.

“HVIA has listened to its members and advocated tirelessly for this change,” he says.

“Removing unnecessary roadblocks and impediments to truck safety and productivity underpins what we do, and we thank Minister Brown’s office for recognising the importance of this reform.”

The change harmonises Australia’s truck width limits with many overseas markets and allows manufacturers to introduce the next generation of safer, cleaner and more productive trucks, without needing costly re-design or re-engineering.

Brown says the package responds to direct calls from industry to increase the width limit of trucks and follows extensive public consultation and feedback.

“These changes will be a real game changer for industry, businesses and other road users, as they will save lives by adopting technology to reduce the likelihood of crashes, while also lowering freight costs and supporting better environmental outcomes,” she says.

Crucially, the change does not affect width limits for trailers, an issue which Hacking says is a key part of HVIA’s policy, intended to protect Australia’s local trailer manufacturing industry from bearing unnecessary re-tooling costs.

“To see that the announcement is perfectly aligned with HVIA’s policy, as guided by members, is a testament to how effective advocacy can be when it is backed by a solid safety and economic case,” he says.

Greg Forbes, HVIA’s National Manager of Policy and Government Regulations, is also incredibly supportive of the announcement.

“The limit of 2.50 metres for trucks restricts model availability, limits access to safety and environment technologies, and adds unnecessary costs,” he says.

“Conversely, current trailer width limits do not impose the same restrictions, and if changed would actually impose additional costs in the form of re-tooling manufacturing facilities.”

HVIA’s Chief Technical Officer, Adam Ritzinger, has been vocal in explaining the safety case for the change and welcomes the requirement for specific safety technologies to be fitted to the wider trucks.

“Safety features such as advanced emergency braking and lane departure warning systems will save lives on our roads,” he says.

“Similarly, technologies that improve a truck driver’s field of vision will improve interactions with all road users but will be particularly beneficial for cyclists and pedestrians.”

The changes will come into effect once registered on the Federal Register of Legislation.

Brown notes that while the change will allow manufactures to design and supply these safer trucks in Australia, operators should continue to engage with their registration authority to determine whether road access permits are required.

At time of writing, HVIA had not had the chance to review the full suite of new and amended rules and standards and will issue formal advice to members once they are available.

Previous ArticleNext Article
  1. Australian Truck Radio Listen Live
Send this to a friend