Manufacturers push to get old trucks off the road

By: Brad Gardner

Heavy vehicle manufacturers want new roadworthy standards introduced to force older trucks off the road

Manufacturers push to get old trucks off the road
Manufacturers push to get old trucks off the road

Heavy vehicle manufacturers are pushing for the introduction of tough new roadworthy standards that will force older trucks off the road.

The Truck Industry Council (TIC), which represents truck manufacturers and distributors, wants a provision slotted into national heavy vehicle laws targeting pre-1995 rigs.

It has written to the National Transport Commission as part of the consultation process on the Heavy Vehicle National Law Draft Regulatory Impact Statement saying too many trucks are being used passed their expiration date and do not meet basic safety and environmental requirements.

"Given that these trucks are already 16 or more years old, it is likely that many of them are poorly maintained and would not pass a reasonable roadworthiness inspection," TIC Chief Technical Officer Simon Humphries says in a written submission to the NTC.

"Heavy Vehicle road safety levels and air quality in Australian cities can be improved significantly by have (sic) nationally consistent roadworthiness standards that increase the retirement rate for these oldest, least safe trucks."

Any move to target older vehicles will likely cost a large section of the trucking industry thousands of dollars, with Humphries saying census data on Australian motor vehicles show 41.5 percent of trucks were registered before 1995.

In 2008, Australian Trucking Association (ATA) CEO Stuart St Clair said the trucking industry operated more than 215,000 heavy vehicles manufactured in or before 1996.

Based on the census data, Humphries says more than two out of every five trucks were sold when no exhaust emission design rules and common safety features were available.

"A national, consistently enforced, roadworthiness inspection scheme is needed," he says.

While TIC has not called for an introduction date for a scheme targeting older vehicles, national heavy vehicle regulations are due to begin on January 1, 2013.

In his written submission, Humphries also takes aim at the number of state regulations. He says manufacturers and distributors would welcome efforts to reduce the amount of red tape.

"This then results in reduced average vehicle costs over time and has a flow-on effect towards the health of the national economy," he says.

"Truck design and manufacture is sufficiently complex before consideration of local variations across states and territories."

Industry feedback on proposed national regulations will be used to inform targeted consultation sessions with stakeholders before a final proposal is submitted to transport ministers to vote on in August.

The ATA’s submission calls for more work to be done on the proposed reforms.

The draft RIS recommends altering existing schemes relating to fatigue management, compliance and enforcement, licensing and registration and sanctions.

Once introduced, national regulations will be overseen by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator to ensure cross-border consistency.

What do you of the Truck Industry Council's proposal? Is it affordable? Leave your thoughts below or contact ATN.

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