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NHVR to hold national heavy vehicle inspection survey

Heavy vehicle regulator will inspect 9,000 trucks to draw a picture of the Australian fleet landscape


The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) is organising a national survey to better understand the state of Australia’s 520,000-strong heavy vehicle fleet.

According to NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto, the National Roadworthy Baseline Survey will sample approximately 9,000 heavy vehicles, including rigid, articulated, B-doubles, road trains, buses, and plant equipment, to gain a better idea of the country’s trucking standard.

“For the first time in Australia, we’ll be conducting a national survey of heavy vehicle roadworthiness using trained inspectors to gather consistent safety information,” Petroccitto says.

“Different data is currently compiled by each state and territory which means that the roadworthiness of heavy vehicles nationally is unclear.

“It’s a fundamental roadblock to understanding the safety of the fleet and to achieving national consistency.”

Petroccitto says each inspection will be held at road side check points and depots, and are expected to take up to 45 minutes.

Scheduled to operate in August and September, NHVR says it will speak with industry and government groups about the potential impacts of the National Roadworthy Baseline Survey beforehand.

According to the NHVR, the basis for each inspection will be the soon-to-be nationally-adopted National Heavy Vehicle Inspection Manual Version 2.1, which comes into effect on July 1.

“For the first time all heavy vehicle inspections will rely on a consistent inspection manual,” Petroccitto says.

“This health check of the heavy vehicle fleet is an important building block to a nationally consistent inspection system.”

One of Australia’s biggest industry bodies, the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) welcomed the instigation of the national truck inspection manual in December, highlighting the simplification of the standards for trucking operators crossing state borders.

“With a single set of uniform standards to work from, trucking operators can avoid the frustration of enforcement officers applying different standards in different states and territories,” ATA CEO Christopher Melham explained at the time.

“The ATA consulted extensively with the NHVR during the development of this manual to ensure it meets the requirements of the trucking industry.”

On the survey, the ATA has similar feelings, as long as the inspectors are up to scratch.

“The ATA strongly supports the idea of the NHVR collecting national roadworthiness data,” ATA policy manager Bill McKinley says, “however, the enforcement officers conducting the inspections will need to be trained to apply the inspection standards consistently before the survey commences”.

The national introduction of the new manual is already close to completion with only Western Australia and the Northern Territory yet to adopt the new standards.

Tasmania, the Australian Capital Territory and South Australia installed the inspection manual in March.

A culmination of NHVR’s consultations with the trucking industry, the new manual is a set of criteria for authorised officers, vehicle examiners, and transport operators to follow when conducting heavy vehicle inspections.

The NHVR hopes the manual will encourage operators to develop preventative maintenance measures to improve safety across their heavy vehicle fleet.

A full breakdown of the new manual is detailed here. 



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