Today’s the day

We thought this day would never arrive, but it has! The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator takes the reins of regulation for the trucking industry as of this morning. This is the point at which the NHVR has to step up. It has been responsible for the NHVAS and PBS for the past year but now they are in control of many of the regulatory functions which deal with the trucks on the highway.

 

“This is a significant step in our evolution as a one-stop-shop for heavy vehicle road transport business with government,” said Richard Hancock, NHVR CEO in a statement over the weekend. “With one rule book under one regulator, we can now offer a much broader range of services previously delivered by state road authorities and the ACT Government.

 

 

“From today, operators will see streamlined and practical operations and regulation for heavy vehicle access, fatigue management and vehicle inspection standards, as well as more consistent on-road compliance and enforcement outcomes; all matters that impact on the day-to-day business of heavy vehicle operators, large and small.”

 

One of the major changes, and the cause of some of the delays in implementation, is the transferring of the responsibility for the issuing of permits to the NHVR. Transport operators wishing to apply for permits anywhere on the East Coast can now apply through the NHVR website for a permit from the start of their journey to the end without having to worry about whether the route crosses state borders.

 

Requirements for documentation carried in truck cabs will change for some with the introduction of the NHVR. As of February 10 any vehicle accredited under the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme (NHVAS) must now carry a copy of all the relevant accreditation certificates as well as a document stating the driver has been inducted under the scheme.

 

These new requirements are to be phased in over a few months. Only warnings will be issued for non-compliance with the new rules in the first month, and in the period until August 9, warnings will be issued for the first offence, but enforcement could follow a second offence in this period.

 

By the time the NHVR has had the guernsey for six months the trucking industry will be able to assess just how well the process of change has gone. There are bound to be disappointments but the situation where the NHVR is running the show is almost certainly going to be an improvement for most of the industry on what has gone before.

 

The proof of the pudding is when the interface between truckies on the road and the enforcement agencies isn’t characterised by tickets being written for offences in one state for behaviour which would be perfectly legal just across the border. We can only dream!

NSW talking tough

Duncan Gay, NSW Roads Minister, was stating the bleeding obvious today when he talked about there being no tougher state than NSW when it comes to heavy vehicle enforcement and inspections. The statement comes in the wake of the ABC Four Corners program on Wednesday which focused around the Mona Vale crash last October to quite an extent.

 

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“We have a heavy vehicle inspection force in its own right in NSW, with more than 280 front line inspectors and investigators,” said Gay.
”They carry out more than 3 million screenings through checking stations and more than 300,000 intercepts and detailed inspections each year.
 This is the largest and most comprehensive enforcement and compliance regime in the country.”

 

He went on to list all of the facilities both fixed and mobile used by the Roads and Maritime Services in their pursuit of truck offences. The minister was also keen to point out the Cootes tanker involved in the Mona Vale incident was not under the NSW scheme.

 

“The tragedy led NSW to successfully convince the national transport and infrastructure committee known as SCOTI to undertake work to improve the maintenance regime for heavy vehicles,” said Gay. “I was pleased to take the reforms to SCOTI on behalf of NSW and secure agreement for: a review of the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme to be led by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator; to bring forward the National Transport Commission’s scheduled review of heavy vehicle inspection regimes; and to expedite consideration of the introduction of mandatory requirements for electronic stability control on all new heavy vehicle trailers carrying dangerous goods.”

 

The NSW Minister brought up the chain of responsibility rules and their effectiveness in tackling mass, dimension, loading, speeding and fatigue offences but would not be drawn to include maintenance into the scope of COR. His advice seems to be suggesting the inspection and enforcement regime is being effective in preventing maintenance issues.

All change for the NHVAS next week

The National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme (NHVAS) comes under the umbrella of the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) next Monday and trucking operators need to take note of changes which may effect them. The NHVR has posted a web page in which all of the main changes are outlined for the operator.

 

The scheme will now operate under one fee structure. Truck drivers operating under mass or maintenance management will need to have the accreditation certificate, proof of induction and an interception report book. The truck itself must display the relevant accreditation label.

 

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Operators in NSW and South Australia will now have to have current inspection certificates to add new vehicles to the scheme. Tasmania will have to begin affixing correct labels and source interception report books for the first time. The documentation required to be carried by drivers included in fatigue management schemes may change for drivers in some states.

 

The NHVR has made provisions for operators during the transition period with a letter being provided for those waiting for accreditation labels to be produced to cover up to a 21 day wait. The NHVR also sent out an email setting out the key provisions for stakeholders.

 

“In recognition of the implications for industry, transitional arrangements will be in place for the first six months,” said the email from NHVR. “The NHVR is advising transport enforcement agencies that their authorised officers should apply discretion where drivers are unable to produce the required NHVAS documentation when they are intercepted. This may include the issuing of a warning as opposed to an infringement.”

 

However the message does come with this warning, “If drivers are issued a warning and disregard it, they are likely to be subject to further enforcement action should they not comply with the HVNL requirements.”