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Prime Mover Magazine

NatRoad supports the use of ‘self-clearing defect’ notices under HVNL

From 1 July 2017, the category of a ‘self-clearing defect’ was introduced into the Heavy Vehicle National Law, a move strongly supported by the National Road Transport Association.

“Defect notice categorisation is either major, minor or self-clearing,” NatRoad said in a statement. 

“The category is determined by the safety risk that the continued use of the defective heavy vehicle on a road may pose. A major defect notice applies if there is an imminent and serious safety risk, a minor defect notice applies to less serious safety risks and a self-clearing defect notice is issued for defective heavy vehicles that do not pose a safety risk.”

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) reportedly informed NatRoad that in determining the level of safety risk the continued use of the vehicle poses the Authorised Officer will: identify any defects or defective components present on the heavy vehicle; identify what safety systems may be compromised by the identified defects and/or defective components; determine the extent that the defective components have compromised the performance of the vehicle’s safety systems using their knowledge and experience; and
determine the effect that the compromised safety system has on the continued safe use of the vehicle on a road.

Authorised Officers will also reportedly consider any external factors that may place differing demands on vehicle performance and components; for example (not limited to), posted speed limit, road features (grade, bends, intersections), traffic density, weather conditions, lighting conditions (day or night), nature of the load.

“As such a defect notice issued to a heavy vehicle with the same or similar defective component may be categorised differently depending on the safety risk the continued use of the vehicle poses,” said NatRoad.

The NHVR provided NatRoad an example: a heavy vehicle detected with inoperative headlights during daylight hours in fine weather conditions poses a very different safety risk then if it was detected operating at night or in poor weather conditions, or a heavy vehicle detected operating with a faulty tow coupling when towing a trailer presents a far greater risk than if it was detected operating without a trailer. As such the same defective component in different circumstances would attract a different defect notice categorisation.

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