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NSW conducts truck roller brake trials

NHVR, NSW RMS, HVIA and ATA collaborate to find improved methods for roller brake testing


The Marulan heavy vehicle testing site along the Hume Highway was the venue for roller brake trials yesterday.

With the current brake testing transition arrangements in New South Wales ending in just over a month, peak industry bodies have launched a joint initiative to conduct test to find better methods for roller brake testing.

Organisers of the program – the NSW Roads and Maritime Services (RMS), the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR), the Heavy Vehicle Industry Australia (HVIA) and the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) – believe such tests will help improve safety outcomes.

The testing will allow further comparison of different roller brake testing methods and will inform the development of national requirements to align with the increased brake performance standard set in the National Heavy Vehicle Inspection Manual (NHVIM).

The latest version of the manual reflects a correction to the brake performance standard in line with Heavy Vehicle National Law.

RMS compliance director Roger Weeks says the new system would provide a higher level of safety for road users and ensure industry was operating under a fair and reliable regime.

“The Marulan test site is the most comprehensive on-highway testing station in Australia therefore it was ideal to host this exercise here,” Weeks says.

“We have illustrated the value of industry groups working together with government to achieve a common goal which provides safety for all road users.

“Roads and Maritime looks forward to ensuring these reforms are transitioned smoothly.”

With NSW transition phase ending September 29, program organisers say the tests are necessary to ensure correct procedures are in place at the Heavy Vehicle Safety Station and that mobile test units provide accurate and consistent results in line with national standards.

NHVR chief engineer Les Bruzsa welcomes industry support “on a test that is practical, robust and repeatable across the country”.

“We are pleased with the commitment across the heavy vehicle industry to achieve a standard that meets our safety requirements and is workable,” Bruzsa says.

“These tests will continue to give us a better understanding of why some heavy vehicles deliver different results and how that relates to the test procedure being used.

“What we’re seeing here is a sensible approach to achieving those goals and meeting the benchmarks set out in the National Heavy Vehicle Inspection Manual.”

While NHVR praises industry’s support in the initiative, ATA has thanked authorities including NHVR and RMS for their efforts to improve safety outcomes in the heavy vehicle sector.

“All that any of us want is to create the safest possible outcome,” ATA chief executive Ben Maguire.

“However, to achieve that we need guidelines and rules about brake performance and testing procedures that are consistent and fair under all circumstances.

“Today was only possible because the industry, the regulator and their enforcement arms came together.

“I am encouraged to see a change in the regulator’s approach with all parties coming together to achieve a rigorous, evidence-based outcome.”

HVIA chief technical officer Paul Caus, who has been representing HVIA in the NHVR’s Roller Brake Test Working Group, says it was clear that further work needed to be carried out on an appropriate and fair procedures, particularly for trailers.

“HVIA has worked closely with the NHVR and the ATA to ensure we end up with an in-service brake test that is fair, robust and provides an assurance that a vehicle’s brakes are performing,” Caus says.

“We will compare all sorts of different scenarios including trailers fitted with advanced braking systems such as stability control and ABS.

“Importantly, we looked at the vehicles as they are typically presented at a roadside test station or mobile test unit.

“There was no special preparation of vehicles to try and get the best test results.”

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