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Prime Mover Magazine

Roller brake tests to improve safety

The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) has coordinated a trial of roller brake testing methods at the Marulan Heavy Vehicle Testing Station in NSW ahead of next month’s end of transition arrangements.

The joint initiative, led by the ATA, included Heavy Vehicle Industry Australia (HVIA), New South Wales Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) and the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR).

The testing will reportedly allow further comparison of different roller brake testing methods and will inform the development of national requirements to align with the increased brake performance standard set in the National Heavy Vehicle Inspection Manual (NHVIM).

The latest version of the manual reflects a correction to the brake performance standard in line with Heavy Vehicle National Law achieved through ATA and industry representation.

ATA Chief Executive, Ben Maguire, said the overall issue had caused frustration for both operators and regulators.

“All that any of us want is to create the safest possible outcome,” said Maguire.

“However, to achieve that we need guidelines and rules about brake performance and testing procedures that are consistent and fair under all circumstances.”

HVIA Chief Technical Officer, Paul Caus, has been representing HVIA in the NHVR’s Roller Brake Test Working Group.

“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,” said Caus.

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

“That is what today was all about. We will compare all sorts of different scenarios including trailers fitted with advanced braking systems such as stability control and ABS.

“Importantly, we looked at the vehicles 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.”

Director of Compliance with Roads and Maritime Services, Roger Weeks, said the new system would provide a higher level of safety for road users and ensure industry was operating under a fair and reliable regime.

“The Marulan test site is the most comprehensive on-highway testing station in Australia therefore it was ideal to host this exercise here,” said Weeks.

“We have illustrated the value of industry groups working together with government to achieve a common goal which provides safety for all road users.

“Roads and Maritime looks forward to ensuring these reforms are transitioned smoothly.”

September 29 sees the end of the transition period to the NHVIM. The testing aims to ensure that procedures are in place at the Heavy Vehicle Safety Station and that mobile test units provide accurate and consistent results in line with national standards.

NHVR Chief Engineer, Les Bruzsa, welcomed the industry’s commitment to working with the NHVR on a test that is practical, robust and repeatable across the country.

“We are pleased with the commitment across the heavy vehicle industry to achieve a standard that meets our safety requirements and is workable,” said Bruzsa.

“These tests will continue to give us a better understanding of why some heavy vehicles deliver different results and how that relates to the test procedure being used.

“What we’re seeing here is a sensible approach to achieving those goals and meeting the benchmarks set out in the National Heavy Vehicle Inspection Manual.”

Maguire praised the NHVR and RMS for their efforts in working with industry.

“Today was only possible because the industry, the regulator and their enforcement arms came together,” said Maguire.

“I am encouraged to see a change in the regulator’s approach with all parties coming together to achieve a rigorous, evidence-based outcome.”

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