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Prime Mover Magazine

Heavy vehicles to join national written-off vehicle management scheme

Austroads and the National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council (NMVTRC) have published assessment criteria for the classification of heavy written-off vehicles, which will apply to rigid trucks, prime movers, trailers and buses from late 2018.

In May 2017, the Transport and Infrastructure Council (TIC) agreed for jurisdictions, together with industry stakeholders and the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) to establish a Heavy Vehicle Written-Off Vehicle Register as a priority; and noted that New South Wales will lead a working group to progress this work.

In June 2017, Austroads and the National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council (NMVTRC) agreed to lead the establishment of a national framework for the management of heavy vehicle write-offs to improve vehicle safety and mitigate related theft risks.

An equivalent scheme for light vehicles has operated in Australia since 2004.

With the assistance of a group of select government and industry experts, a detailed set of technical criteria has been agreed with Australia’s major heavy vehicle insurers, manufacturers, repairers and transport agencies to identify when a vehicle involved in a crash or other event that has resulted in it being declared a total loss should be classified to be a statutory write-off.

The term total loss is an insurance expression to describe a vehicle that has been assessed as uneconomical to repair. Whilst the precise form of words used for calculation purposes may vary slightly between insurers and/or jurisdictional law, in plain English it refers to a scenario where the vehicle’s market value, less its salvage value is less than its estimated cost of repair.

A statutory write-off may only be used for dismantling salvageable parts for reuse, or processing as scrap.

The technical criteria are set out in Damage Assessment Criteria for the Classification of Heavy Vehicle Statutory Write-Offs. The Guide is designed to assist insurance personnel and other notifiers who are required to classify heavy vehicle write-offs for regulatory purposes with the classification task.

The specialised nature of heavy vehicle construction and fabrication means that the criteria (and respective damage counting rules) have been separated into three groups: Group 1: Rigid trucks and prime movers; Group 2: Trailers; Group 3: Buses.

The key principles that have underlined development of the criteria have been to: ensure the application of sound engineering principles in respect of the kinetic energy associated with heavy vehicle crashes, manufacturers’ repairs standards and safe repair practices; err on the side of safety where there has been any doubt about the best technical approach; and rely on an expert, in-situ visual assessment by an insurance assessor without recourse to scientific or destructive testing.

Austroads and the NMVTRC are collaborating on the development of an appropriate industry training program and resources for delivery from October 2018.

It is expected that NSW will be the first jurisdiction to implement a written off heavy vehicle register with implementation dates for other jurisdictions yet to be determined.

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