NHVR envisages revamped PBS 2.0 scheme

‘Flexibility and innovation’ seen as essential to HVNL reform

NHVR envisages revamped PBS 2.0 scheme
The B-Quad was approved under the NHVR’s PBS scheme last year


The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) wants reforms to ensure national and local policy settings are able to support the uptake of safer and more productive vehicles.

In its response to the National Transport Commission’s (NTC) Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) Review Vehicle Standards and Safety issues paper, it says a revamped performance-based standards (PBS) scheme that focuses on flexibility and continued innovation should be essential to reforms.

A revamped scheme, PBS 2.0, was a central part of the regulator’s submission, NHVR manager vehicle safety and performance Peter Austin says.

The key tenets of PBS 2.0 would:

  • provide fleet interchangeability through a modular approval approach to PBS
  • make more productive and safer vehicles the priority in access decisions
  • remove common PBS vehicles or combinations from the PBS scheme and transitioned into the prescriptive heavy vehicle fleet.
  • increase the potential for innovationp
  • provide PBS Review Panel with increased strategic role.

"Since assuming responsibility for heavy vehicle standards and the performance-based standards scheme, the NHVR has overseen a reduction in processing times for PBS design approvals by up to three weeks for the vast majority of applications, and a reduction in vehicle standards permit volumes by over 75 per cent," Austin says.

"But there is still significant room to improve these processes through reform to the HVNL."

Austroads recently pledged support for vehicle width extensions

NHVR says PBS vehicles deliver significant safety and productivity benefits and supporting the industry to innovate in this area is a key priority for the regulator

"We all have a responsibility to ensure the heavy vehicle industry can meet the country’s growing freight demand, which means delivering more goods with fewer vehicles in a safe manner," Austin says.

"The established PBS scheme is the platform that we should learn and leverage from to achieve this goal."

 The full submission is available here.

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