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We Need Space campaign takes agricultural vehicle focus

Safety call as Victorian grain harvest scheme sees compliance gains


The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) We Need Space campaign has extended to agricultural vehicles for National Farm Safety Week.

The NHVR is urging all road users to give agricultural vehicles extra space on the road ahead of this year’s planting and harvest season.

National Farm Safety Week, from July 18-24 raises awareness of farm safety issues in rural communities across Australia.

NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto said the recent increase in Australians moving to regional communities in the past year meant more traffic for agricultural vehicle drivers to safely navigate during the up-coming harvest.

“We know up to four out of five crashes involving a heavy vehicle are caused by light vehicle drivers, so it’s important motorists understand how to safely share the road with heavy vehicles,” he said.

“Tractors, grain harvesters and air seeders all have limited turning ability, visibility of other vehicles, speed range and space on our roads.

“If you’re travelling near an agricultural vehicle, please be patient, reduce your speed, maintain a safe following distance of two seconds or more, and only overtake if it is safe to do so.

“If an oversized ag vehicle is approaching you from the opposite direction, you may need to pull over safely to let them pass.

“It’s these simple tips that will help reduce risk for all road users and ensure everyone arrives safely at their destination – whether it’s to the silo, stockyard or home.”

Recent developments in the We Need Space initiative, here

Meanwhile, the national regulator released its Victoria Grain Harvest Management Scheme (GHMS) report, highlighting strong improvements in compliance despite an increasing harvest.

GHMS aims to improve the productivity, safety, and efficiency of heavy vehicles during the harvest season, providing up to 5% mass allowance for productivity and minimising the risks associated with the variable conditions of loading trucks on farms.

The GHMS  allows for an efficient grain harvest while eliminating overloading on our roads through appropriate administration procedures and compliance activities.

The GHMS full year reporting is based on data provided to the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) by Participating Grain Receivers (PGRs) during the 1 Oct 2020 to 31 May 2021 period.

For the 2020‐2021 harvest period, the total harvest size increased by 25% (4.2 million to 5.2 million tonnes) from the previous season, NHVR reports.

The percentage of grain delivered under the GHMS remained consistent (slightly increased from 9.5% in 2019‐2020 to 9.8% in 2020‐2021).

Overall total breaches have decreased significantly by 1.6% (18.44% to 16.90%) from the previous season. A total of 8,524 trips were saved in the same period.

A full breakdown of the key points includes:

  • The 2020‐21 season saw a substantial growth (25%) in harvest.
  • Participation vehicles in the GHMS increased (32.6%).
  • Non‐compliant rate decreased (from 18.44% to 16.90%).
  • Non‐compliant of GHMS dropped significantly (from 25.32% to 9.35%).
  • 57% of all deliveries in 2020‐2021 have utilised the allowable weight limit of 95‐100% (8% increase in last 4 seasons), whereby 100% represents the Legal Weight Limit.
  • The average year of manufacture for the fleet completing the grain transport task has increased from 1982 to 1995 since the introduction of the Scheme 4 years ago.
  • A total of 8,524 trips were saved. The increase in trips saved 4.78% to 5.02% (2020‐ 2021) was due to the General Mass Limits (GML) concession type being used less and the increased utilisation of Concessional Mass Limits, Higher Mass Limits, Performance Based Standards and GHMS concession types for Full Year 2020‐2021.
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