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NSW roller brake testing transition extended to early 2018

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) has agreed to extend the current brake testing transition arrangements in New South Wales to 31 January 2018 to allow further industry research.

NHVR Chief Engineer, Les Bruzsa, has said the extension was the result of feedback given to the NHVR by the Australian Trucking Association (ATA), Heavy Vehicle Industry Australia (HVIA) and the NSW Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) following heavy vehicle roller brake trials held at Marulan Heavy Vehicle Testing Station in NSW last month.

“A program of 21 brake testing trials was conducted on 14-15 August and included deceleration tests and roller brake tests on up to three roller brake machines,” said Bruzsa.

“The objective of the heavy vehicle roller brake trials was to identify the best method to ensure compliant brake systems will not be incorrectly defected, and to improve safety outcomes by ensuring defective brakes can be correctly identified.

“The heavy vehicle roller brake test trials have generated a large amount of test data, and the data is currently being compiled and verified. Further analysis of this data is required to develop a fair, robust and repeatable national testing procedure that delivers the desired safety improvements,” he said.

According to the NHVR, the current transition period was to end on 29 September, however all parties involved in this joint initiative have agreed an extension of the transition to 31 January 31 2018 is more realistic to develop a robust procedure.

“This brake trial was only possible because the industry, technical experts, equipment manufacturers, the NHVR and their regulatory partners have worked cooperatively to gain better understanding,” said Bruzsa. “It’s clear from the cooperation, discussions, and sharing of information and ideas that all parties are committed to ensuring that the final in-service brake test will improve safety and is fair and technically sound.”

The Heavy Vehicle Industry Australia (HVIA) has commended the NHVR for its measured approach to transitioning roller brake testing arrangements in New South Wales.

HVIA Chief Executive, Brett Wright, has said the NHVR’s decision was a great testimony to the determination of industry representatives to seek a fair outcome for members.

“Following the release of the National Roadworthiness Baseline Survey, it was clear that further work needed to be carried out on an appropriate and fair procedure, particularly for trailers,” said Wright.

“HVIA has worked closely with the NHVR and the ATA to ensure we end up with an in-service brake test that is fair, robust and provides an assurance that a vehicle’s brakes are performing.

“The display of collaboration at Marulan, with industry and the regulator working jointly towards resolution of a complex issue, should set the tone for sorting through both technical and policy issues in the future,” he said.

Last month, HVIA and the ATA, with close cooperation from New South Wales Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) and the NHVR, conducted an extensive series of trials of roller brake testing methods at Marulan Heavy Vehicle Testing Station.

The data gathered is now being analysed to inform the development of national roller brake testing requirements to align with the increased brake performance standard set in the National Heavy Vehicle Inspection Manual (NHVIM).

“The tests compared all sorts of different scenarios including trailers fitted with advanced braking systems, such as stability control and ABS,” said Wright. “Importantly, the vehicles were tested as they are typically presented at a roadside test station or mobile test unit. There was no special preparation of vehicles to try and get the best test results.”

Wright has said the practical testing was more than twelve months in the making, with the NHVR’s Industry Reference Group having put together an expert working group, specifically to deal with industry’s concerns.

“While the roller-brake testing trials were a huge logistical exercise, with contributors converging from up and down the east coast, it was nothing but impressive in its execution, through the leadership of Chris Loose from the ATA, ably assisted by our own Chief Technical, Officer Paul Caus,” said Wright.

“A huge thanks to HVIA members who gave up their time including Maha, Levanta, Karmott, Smedley's Engineering, Borcat Trailers and Knorr-Bremse,” he said.

“Praise also goes to the many trucking operators including Lynley Miners, Divalls, Maddens, Boral, Hornby Transport Services, Ron Finemore Transport, JL Pierce and Linfox.

“And not forgetting the inspectors at Marulan, senior representatives from RMS (including Melinda Bailey and Brett Patterson), VicRoads and Access Canberra, Nepean VIS, the ATA's Ben Maguire, plus Les Bruzsa and Robert Gibson from the NHVR.”

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