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Prime Mover Magazine


What’s changing for the trucking industry on 1 July?

Australian heavy vehicle laws will see a range of changes from 1 July 2017, according to the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR).

The changes come on the back of an update to the National Heavy Vehicle Inspection Manual (NHVINM), explained NHVR CEO, Sal Petroccitto, which has become the standard for heavy vehicle inspections carried out in all jurisdictions except Western Australia.

According to Petroccitto, the changes – referred to as version 2.2 – are mainly aimed at “improving roadside compliance activities and reducing the compliance burden for industry”.

Key changes include introducing ‘self-clearing’ defect notices – effectively an additional type of defect notice for “defective vehicles that do not pose a safety risk” or if the vehicle’s number plate is obscured.

“Self-clearing defects do not require an inspection of the vehicle by an approved person for the purpose of having the self-clearing defect notice cleared,” the NHVR explained in a recent briefing.

An offence has also been created for failing to display and maintain National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme labels on heavy vehicles under the Maintenance Management Accreditation scheme and the Mass Management Accreditation scheme, the Regulator explained.

Other changes include an alignment of the performance measures used when conducting machine-based brake testing, clearer requirements for lights, reflectors and reflective tape, as well as updates to requirements for vehicle dimensions.

“These latest amendments are part of our commitment to continuous improvement of the manual and we welcome your contributions and feedback,” said Petroccitto.

Key changes

Brake performance testing
One of the key changes included in version 2.2 is an alignment of the performance measures used when conducting machine-based brake testing, primarily roller brake testing. More information about these changes is available in the Vehicle Standards Guide (VSG-15) NHVIM Fact Sheet – Brake Testing.

Lights and reflectors
Additional reasons have now been included in the Lights and Reflectors section of the Manual for reflectors, daytime running lights and conspicuity markings. These changes were made in response to industry requests for clear requirements when inspecting these components and include new reasons for rejection, for example when conspicuity markings do not continue for at least 80 per cent of the length or width of the vehicle.

Vehicle dimensions
“Minor changes” have reportedly been made to the requirements for vehicle length to make the requirements easier to understand – especially for semi-trailers and dog-trailers – and also include dimension requirements for trailers used in road trains. For example, the distance from the point of articulation to the rear of a trailer is set at 13.6m for a refrigerated semi-trailer not used in a road train or B-double combination, 13.2m for a semitrailer not used in a road train or B-double combination, and 12.3m for another semitrailer or dog trailer. For a road train, the drawbar has to at least 3.0m long from the centre of the coupling to the front articulation point.

Couplings
Fifth wheels and turntables may now also be rejected due wear or adjustment of the kingpin locking mechanism beyond the manufacturer’s specifications.

More detailed information on the exact changes that have been made can be found here.

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