An overview of Performance-Based Standards
Performance-Based Standards (PBS) has come a long way since it was first introduced by the National Transport Commission (NTC) in 2007. Over a decade later, a growing number of fleets are realising the advantages of innovative, optimised engineering and how that directly impacts the profitability of a business. The number of registered vehicles, to date, is steadily on the rise year-on-year.
A joint report into PBS, released in May 2018 by the Australian Road Transport Suppliers Association (ARTSA) and the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NVHR), revealed that almost one in six of the vehicles manufactured in 2017 was PBS approved. Since the scheme’s inception, over 8,000 PBS combinations have been approved for use on Australian roads.
According to Robert Smedley, Director and Senior Engineer at Smedley’s Engineers, the number of PBS assessments performed by the company has mirrored the growth in PBS uptake seen by the industry. “Last year  we completed a total of 397 PBS jobs. This year , 500 PBS jobs had already been completed by November.”
While PBS approvals are trending upwards, ARTSA sees signs of a heavy vehicle registration slowdown in 2019.
It reported that there were almost 44,000 new vehicles registered for 2018, exceeding 2017’s record by over 5,000 vehicles including trailers, prime movers, rigid-bodied vehicles, special purpose vehicles and buses. This record, according to ARTSA, may stand for some time as forward Vehicle Identification Numbers (VIN) have been falling since 2018 and are akin to work in progress and suggest a slowdown is already underway.
The fleet, on average, now has a median age of 11.9 years compared with 10.9 years in 2014, which ARTSA asserts is a serious issue as even the record high new vehicle registrations are failing to bring the median fleet age down.
The concern with an ageing truck fleet is predominantly due to safety for not only the vehicle operators but also the wider community.
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