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Prime Mover Magazine

ALRTA rejects changes to vehicle standards regulations

The Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association (ALRTA) has lodged a formal submission to National Transport Commission (NTC) rejecting a proposed change to the Heavy Vehicle (Vehicle Standards) National Regulation.

The proposed change to section 11 of the regulations would require all mandatory equipment to be connected to a vehicle – or be deemed non-compliant.

ALRTA National President, Kevin Keenan, said that the proposal is unworkable.

“There are many situations when mandatory equipment fitted to heavy trailers cannot be plugged into a prime mover or leading trailer,” said President Keenan.

“Australian Design Rules are constantly changing. Vehicles are built to meet the mandatory specifications in place at the time of manufacture.

“For example, some new trailers were required to have ABS from 1 January 2015 and an even wider range of new trailers will require EBS from 1 November 2019 with some of these required to have 24v power.

“This means that the Australian heavy vehicle fleet is always comprised of a mix of older and newer technologies. Many older vehicles lack compatible plugs and voltage systems to be connected with newer technologies.

“Prime movers built before July 2014 were not required to have an ABS/EBS connector. A lack of compatible connections is also a common problem for multi-trailer combinations, larger fleets and tow operators.

“There are also many considerations in play when assembling heavy vehicle configurations such as ownership of trailers, destination of goods, availability of trailers for the next leg of a journey, relative trailer mass and placement of specialist trailers within a combination.  It is just not safe or practical to constantly re-configure a combination just to access an available connection.

“Passage of the amendment in its current form would result in trailers that are physically compliant with ADRs upon purchase and maintained in this form becoming periodically non-compliant because of their relative position within a multi-vehicle combination – which can vary from journey to journey.

“It would make more sense for the regulations to simply require that mandated technology is not left unplugged if a compatible plug is readily available in the current vehicle configuration,” he said.

Last month, ALRTA requested that the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) remake the National Primary Production Work Diary Exemption (Notice) 2015 (No.2).

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