Mandatory ABS to cost $2k per truck, RIS says

Federal Government plan to mandate ABS for heavy vehicles will cost industry $2,037 on average per truck

Mandatory ABS to cost $2k per truck, RIS says
Mandatory ABS to add $2k to cost of new truck
By Brad Gardner | May 6, 2013

A Federal Government plan to mandate antilock braking systems (ABS) for heavy vehicles will cost just over $2,000 on average per truck.

A regulatory impact statement (RIS) examining the costs and benefits of the Government’s plan says requiring the safety feature to be fitted to trucks over 4.5 tonnes will result in an average cost impost of $2,037.

The figure differs for individual types of vehicles, with ABS adding $1,000 to the cost of a light duty truck and $3,560 to a heavy duty truck. The RIS says the cost to fit ABS to a medium duty truck will be $2,500, while it will be $1,500 for trailers.

"The primary costs under this option would be in fitting the ABS equipment itself," the paper says of the Government’s plan, which is due to come into force on January 1, 2014.

It says mandating ABS will provide net benefits of $73 million and save 57 lives over 30 years. However, the RIS adds that fitting trailers with load proportioning systems, which trailer manufacturers requested, will reduce net benefits to $46 million and the number of lives saved to 36.

The trailer industry wants a transition to ABS and proposed the fitment of mechanical or pneumatic load-proportioning systems as an option. The RIS says the cost of installing the technology is about half the cost of installing ABS.

"LP modifies the braking signal of a vehicle, depending on the mass being carried, in order to provide for more consistent decelerations under braking regardless of the mass being carried," the RIS says.

"Besides a lower cost, it has the distinct advantage over ABS of being able to operate without electrical power, for example when a trailer with LP is connected to a prime-mover that does not have ABS (and so cannot also power the trailer).

"Its main drawback is that it gives a pre-set response to braking related only to the loading condition of the trailer. Therefore it does not take into account any locking of wheels in the combination during a braking event."

The Government is currently consulting with industry on its plan, which the RIS says is primarily aimed at reducing road trauma in crashes involving heavy vehicles.

"In the past, surveys conducted by states and territory transport agencies have shown that tyres and brakes are two dominant components on heavy commercial vehicles that contribute to mechanical defects that can in turn lead to crashes," the RIS states.

"For a number of years it has been recognised that braking and truck instability are significant vehicle factors that relate to crash occurrence."

Road Safety Minister Catherine King last month announced the Government would give the trucking industry one month to provide feedback on the RIS.

The push to mandate ABS is part of the Government’s strategy to improve heavy vehicle braking performance. The next phase of the initiative will look at mandating more advanced technology such as electronic stability control.

"ABS can provide greater benefits for heavy commercial vehicles when compared to passenger cars because of the relatively poorer braking capabilities of larger vehicles," the RIS says.

"ABS can reduce crashes involving jack-knife, loss-of-control, run-off-road, lane departure, or skidding, or where trucks with conventional brakes are unable to stop in time to avoid hitting something frontally."

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