Invitation to have a say on improving truck roadworthiness


Better education and training for operators is amongst items on the joint NTC-NHVR list for comment by September 26

Invitation to have a say on improving truck roadworthiness
The nations's roadworthiness systems are under scrutiny

 

Federal authorities are calling for submissions from the public as part of their National Heavy Vehicle Roadworthiness Program.

But you’d better be quick – the deadline is in less than a month’s time.

The National Transport Commission (NTC) and the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) have just released the second of two foundation reports on Australia’s roadworthiness systems.

The Roadworthiness Program was precipitated by the fatal crash involving a Cootes tanker in New South Wales in late 2013.

"Subsequent inspection of the operator’s large heavy vehicle fleet in New South Wales and other states produced compelling evidence of significant roadworthiness concerns involving a high percentage of their fleet," explains the report.

"As the operator was accredited under the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme (NHVAS), the findings from these inspections raised questions as to whether the scheme is meeting its objectives and whether the maintenance management system is effective for assuring roadworthiness."

The report is the second step in a four-stage process, NTC chief executive Paul Retter says. 

"The NTC and NHVR have identified areas for short-term and long-term potential reforms," he says.

"We’re now calling for submissions from industry and the community on the best way to improve heavy vehicle roadworthiness and make our nation’s roads safer.  

The NTC and NHVR say that in coming weeks they will discuss a range of possible improvement measures with industry and government stakeholders. These include:

  •  a clear definition of "roadworthiness"
  •  better education and training, particularly in relation to operators’ responsibilities 
  • chain of responsibility duties to improve roadworthiness
  • a standardised "second party" (i.e not involving the operator) inspection syste
  • clearer arrangements for when and how defects are issued and cleared
  •  "robust" accreditation and safety management systems, particularly to strengthen the NHVAS audit system. 

In phase three of the Roadworthiness Program, recommendations will be distilled into a draft regulatory impact statement for consideration by Australia’s transport ministers in November. After that there will be national consultation on the final proposed improvements and changes. 

"I encourage anyone interested in better safety outcomes for the heavy vehicle industry to take the time to read the reports and get involved," NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto says. 

"Road safety professionals and transport company fleet managers should particularly study the concepts of ‘defence in depth’ which are presented in this paper as a model for assessing the integrity of the current national roadworthiness system." 

A copy of the Phase 2 - Integrity Review of the National Heavy Vehicle Roadworthiness System report is available at www.ntc.gov.au and www.nhvr.gov.au

Feedback on the report and suggestions for improving truck roadworthiness systems can be made via the NTC website until Friday, September 26.

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