Canberra eyes AEB uptake for new heavy vehicle fleet

Safety feature seen as effective crash and fatality reduction measure

Canberra eyes AEB uptake for new heavy vehicle fleet
An image from the RIS


The federal government is considering policy options to increase the uptake of Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) as a measure to reduce the number and severity of heavy vehicle rear impact crashes.

It has started consulting on technology to refine the Australian Design Rules (ADRs) in line with the National Road Safety Action Plan 2018-2020, releasing a Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) which identifies international-standard AEB as the most effective measure available.

The government quotes Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development research that finds AEB systems meeting such standards can reduce the number and severity of all heavy vehicle crashes by almost 15 per cent, and reduce fatalities and injuries by up to 57 per cent.

The RIS proposes to adopt AEB across the new heavy vehicle fleet, and also considers expanding the current requirements for electronic stability control (ESC) where AEB is fitted and applying the requirements to some smaller vehicles as well.

Assistant minister to the deputy prime minister Andrew Gee says that while heavy vehicles represent three per cent of all registered vehicles in Australia and account for just over eight per cent of vehicle kilometres travelled on public roads, they are involved in 17 per cent of fatal crashes.

"Regardless of where the fault lies, crashes involving heavy vehicles can be particularly severe," Gee says.

"Crashes involving heavy vehicles striking the rear of other vehicles cost the community around $200 million each year.

"They also have a devastating effect on the individuals and families involved.

"AEB systems detect likely forward collisions, provide the driver with a warning and, if the driver does not respond, puts the brakes on automatically."

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The RIS notes that, although market uptake is increasing, the current overall fitment across the fleet is still relatively low with around 6 per cent of new heavy vehicles fitted with AEB.

Gee says harmonising with established international standards ensures the safest vehicles are made available to Australian operators at the lowest cost.

The consultation RIS is available here and will remain open for a six-week public comment period


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