Report highlights massive PBS safety gains

Vehicles in scheme boost productivity with much fewer major crashes

Report highlights massive PBS safety gains
Les Bruzsa


 A joint report from the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR), Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport Australia (CILTA) and the National Truck Accident Research Centre (NTARC) has revealed Performance Based Standards (PBS) vehicles are involved in 60 per cent fewer major crashes than conventional vehicles.

This is a significant improvement over the results in a 2018 report, the Reforming the Performance-Based Standards scheme policy paper, which found 46 per cent fewer major crashes compared to the conventional fleet.

PBS vehicles are also forecast to save 143 lives over 20 years, the NHVR says.

The NHVR partnered with the CILTA and the NTARC to deliver the Review of Major Crash Rates for Australian Higher Productivity Vehicles: 2015 – 2019 report, which looks at the reduced crash rates, fewer kilometres driven, and lives saved by using PBS vehicles.

It shows PBS rigid trucks, with or without trailers, at almost half the crashes per 100 million km of non-PBS vehicles and articulated combinations at less than a third.

"Generally, the PBS fleets, whose configurations have been certified through the PBS scheme, have performed better in each truck category when compared to their conventional truck counterparts," the report colcudes.

"In some cases, significant improvements in major crash statistics have been observed for some configurations.

"This is because some of the expected crashes have not occurred as ‘major crashes’, but instead have manifest themselves to a minor extent in increased frequencies in the ‘serious crash’ category when examined over the last five years.

"The PBS technology itself, the dedicated efforts in getting PBS vehicles into an operational fleet, the mindful cost of new PBS units, the safety consciousness of many of the PBS adopting fleet operators, often the selection of the PBS truck drivers themselves and the appropriate road infrastructure on which PBS vehicles operate, all add up to a higher productive and safer heavy Australian road transport industry.

"These findings also support previous safety research findings." 

Read about the 10,000 PBS combinations milestone, here

NHVR chief engineer Les Bruzsa sees PBS vehicles achieving safety gains beyond what was originally anticipated.

"In the last five years, PBS vehicles were involved in 60 per cent fewer major crashes than conventional trucks" Bruzsa says.

"PBS articulated combinations had the lowest rate of crashes per distance travelled with 5.4 crashes per 100 million kilometres travelled, compared to 17.6 crashes for their conventional counterparts — almost 70 per cent lower.

"Not only are these vehicles equipped with the latest in braking and safety technologies to help prevent crashes, but they are also productive - delivering more goods with fewer vehicles in a safe manner.

"Over the last five years, PBS vehicles travelled 1.6 billion fewer kilometres on Australian roads compared to conventional vehicles to transport the same freight task.

"This huge reduction in distance travelled means improved safety benefits to our drivers, the community and reducing damage to our roads."

The NHVR notes there has been significant acceleration in the uptake of the PBS scheme, with a compound annual growth rate close to 43 per cent.

 "There are now more than 12,000 PBS-approved combinations operating across Australia," Bruzsa says.

"Further growth will deliver greater safety and productivity benefits, supporting a strong and prosperous Australia, and the saving of more lives on our roads."

The full report can be found here.


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