Vehicle width in HVIA spotlight as Drake takes helm

State committees, vehicle width and standards changes on agenda

Vehicle width in HVIA spotlight as Drake takes helm
Mario Colosimo and John Drake


John Drake, recently elected as new Heavy Vehicle Industry Australia (HVIA) president, has announced new state committees in Queensland, Victoria and NSW to start later this month to broaden member engagement, with suggestions of increasing operating vehicle width in Australia to 2.55m one of the items on the association’s agenda.

Drake, managing director of Drake Trailers, was formally elected at an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) recently after being acting president since the position was vacated in November 2018.

Mario Colosimo (Byrne Trailers) was elected unopposed to the position of vice-president.

"I know – like my company – our members have strong views on topics and genuinely want to engage to make our industry stronger," Drake says. 

"The new committees give our members a voice on important topics but they are also a good opportunity to inform them of the huge workload in front of HVIA.

"The organisation does some great work and up until now our engagement has been limited; I want to formalise it and broaden our engagement to ensure we are transparent about the issues and we allow ourselves the best opportunity to tap into the views of our membership."

The state committees will be broadened out in the other states as membership grows in those regions, HVIA notes.

The first meeting will be on March 25 in Melbourne, followed by Sydney on April 4 Queensland on April 11.

The initial Victorian state committee will be chaired by vice president Mario Colosimo.

"I’m looking forward to hearing what our members think on a range of important topics," Colosimo says.

"We know government is talking about the issue of width; the new Act has a range of changes for our members that need to be understood, and there is a lot of opportunity at the Brisbane Truck Show that our members need to know about."

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HVIA also notes that Austroads is examining if Australia should follow New Zealand’s lead and increase the allowable width of vehicles operating in Australia to 2.55m.

The project is a result of the National Road Safety Action Plan recommendation that the government should examine barriers to the uptake of new safety features in heavy vehicles.

"The project is primarily focused on investigating the pros and cons of changing vehicle width and is planning to conduct further industry consultation activities prior to reporting to Austroads Board in October this year," HVIA southern region manager Greg Forbes says after industry briefing on the project, which he says is still in its early stages.

"If a decision is made to pursue this issue further, it is likely that a formal discussion paper and regulatory impact statement would be published by the Department of Infrastructure next year."

HVIA also warns that operators who hold an approval under the Motor Vehicle Standards Act for a component registration number (CRN) or a sub assembly registration number (SARN) should undertake an audit of the evidence used to obtain the approval.

Changes set for implementation in the Road Vehicle Standards Act (RVSA) from December this year will change the way this evidence is used under the new legislation.

The Department of Infrastructure has confirmed that under the new legislation the only compliance evidence that will be accepted will be evidence supplied by testing facilities approved under the new legislation.

Existing vehicle approval holders can use the opt in procedures to give themselves some time to adjust, but new vehicle models, all components and all sub assemblies will need to be approved under the new act using approved sources of evidence. Even if the evidence is still valid, it may not be accepted if it doesn’t meet the rules.

"Members need to do this audit now to ensure they have time to be compliant before the legislation takes effect," Forbes says.

"If members do not prepare properly, they could be caught out when the new legislation takes effect.

"If you don’t have the right approvals you may not be able to sell your product.

"We are hoping to get more detail on how this will work in practice at the next round of consultation meetings later this month."


  • John Drake (The Drake Group) president
  • Mario Colosimo (Byrne Trailers) vice-president
  • Ken Cowell (KD Cowell & Associates)
  • Miles Crawford (CMV Group)
  • Rod Cunningham (Barker Trailers)
  • Nick Stavrakis (DANA Australia)
  • John Thompson (Borcat Trailers)

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