ATA applauds change to semitrailer white paint rule

The move is expected to save the industry around $12.4m over the next decade

ATA applauds change to semitrailer white paint rule
Christopher Melham says the old regulation worked better in theory than in practice.


The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) has welcomed the federal government’s announcement of change to the Australian Design Rules (ADRs), which is expected to cut red tape and save heavy vehicle operators money.

The initiative that the ATA pushed for will remove mandatory requirement for the rear bumper of semi‑trailers to be painted white, which in most cases is a different colour to the main trailer body.

The change is expected to save the industry around $12.4 million over the next decade,  major projects minister Paul Fletcher says.

"More than 4,500 semi-trailers are manufactured in Australia every year and they will no longer require the extra step in production to paint the rear bumper a different colour to the main trailer body," Fletcher says.

ATA CEO Christopher Melham sees the move as accepting reality.

"This [the white colour requirement] was intended to improve visibility for other road users, but worked better in theory than in practice – the bumper makes little difference during daylight hours, and the semitrailer’s rear marker plates provide much greater visibility benefits at night time and in low-light situations," Melham says.

"The rule was inconsistent in that it only applied to semitrailers – other types of heavy vehicle were exempt from the requirement.

"In addition, the ATA was regularly hearing reports that operators had been issued with defect notices because the paint on their rear bumper had been scratched or otherwise obscured.

"This had nothing to do with the vehicle’s safety – you certainly wouldn’t expect to be fined if you scratched the paint on your car."

The initiative was taken in response to the Productivity Commission's report on Australia's automotive manufacturing industry to accelerate harmonising ADRs with United Nations vehicle regulations, Fletcher says.

"Harmonisation with international standards provides access to the latest vehicle technology at the lowest possible cost," he says.

The change will come into effect for new trailers once the Vehicles Standard (Australian Design Rule 42/04 – General Safety Requirements) 2005 – Amendment 6 is registered on the Federal Register of Legislative Instruments.

However, the National, Western Australian and Northern Territory heavy vehicle regulators will need to consider issuing exemptions against their vehicle standards regulations for the change to come into force for trailers in service.

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