PBS 'our biggest weapon': NTC

NTC enters debate on larger trucks, saying they should be industry's best weapon in winning over concerned communities

PBS 'our biggest weapon': NTC
PBS 'our biggest weapon': NTC
By Brad Gardner | March 16, 2010

Higher productivity vehicles are the best way of easing safety concerns about larger trucks, according to the National Transport Commission (NTC).

As the industry struggles to counter negative media reports labelling 30-metre vehicles as monster trucks, the NTC’s communications manager, Paul Sullivan, says the vehicles should be the answer to winning community support.

Unlike general trucks using the road, the vehicles must meet stringent safety and infrastructure requirements under the performance based standards (PBS) scheme before road access is granted.

"PBS should be our biggest weapon," Sullivan says.

"This far superior vehicle has to go through all this red tape."

The world’s largest dairy processor, Fonterra Australia, has invested heavily in gaining PBS approval for its 26 metre dual milk tanker.

The company’s transport manager, Tony Miller, says the combination is a greater vehicle than a standard 26 metre B-double because of the PBS standards.

He says it can stop 11 metres faster than the latter vehicle and does not need to swing wide when turning corners because it has three points of articulation.

"It has more braking capacity," Miller says.

"You don’t need to move as much into the other lane as a B-double needs to."

Sullivan says there are currently 81 approved PBS designs and less than 100 vehicles on the road.

"It could be so much more," he says

"We’re actually under-selling the reform."

Sullivan and Miller made the comments to the International heavy Vehicle Symposium and ahead of the NTC’s release of a review into the effectiveness of PBS.

The review will recommend a nationally consistent PBS approval process to cut red tape and give operators a one-stop-shop, rather than the current state-based process.

Sullivan has urged the industry to get involved once the review is released publicly.

"The draft will be out for consultation and it will be your opportunity to have your voice heard and get this reform moving," he says.

The Chairman of the PBS Review Panel, David Anderson, says there are some people in the industry with a negative view of PBS and a mindset against pursuing it.

"That’s a bit sad. If they want to do that hopefully their competitors sort them out," he says.

Anderson says the key to the success of higher productivity vehicles will be to end the ‘us versus them’ mentality of the trucking industry and communities.

"This country can do well at many things, but only when we do that," he says.

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