ABS to become standard on heavy vehicles

The Federal Government has entered into the final stage of discussions with heavy vehicle manufacturers and operators to mandate Antilock Braking Systems (ABS) for heavy trucks, trailers and buses.

The proposal is an important step under the National Heavy Vehicle Braking Strategy in bringing more modern braking systems into the Australian heavy vehicle fleet.

The Minister for Road Safety, Catherine King, said the changes to the Australian Design Rules could save over 50 lives on Australian roads over the first four years of implementation.

“ABS is an accepted technology that features in many of our personal and family vehicles, so it makes good sense to consider it for heavier vehicles which have an equal if not greater need to brake quickly and safely,” said Minister King.

ABS detects any tendency for wheels to lock during hard braking and automatically intervenes to prevent it happening, which can help keep heavy vehicles stable when in emergency braking situations.

In line with the National Road Safety Strategy 2011–2020, the next phase of the National Heavy Vehicle Braking Strategy would consider even more advanced braking technology such as Electronic Stability Control.

“It’s important for the heavy vehicle industry to have its say on how best to maintain productivity levels while making our roads safer, which is why I have agreed to a one-month period for the peak industry bodies to comment on a consultation Regulation Impact Statement,” said Ms King.

To encourage the earliest possible introduction of the proposal, it includes allowing load proportioning braking systems for heavy trailers as an alternative to Antilock Braking Systems.

Peak industry bodies are also developing a code of practice to help operators optimise the performance of different braking technologies when combining trucks and trailers together.

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