Roadworthy trucks

The whole issue of how roadworthiness in trucks can be maintained is undergoing scrutiny, at the moment. The National Transport Commission (NTC) has released a regulatory impact statement (RIS) to the industry and is calling for submissions in response. Read more

Ravaglioli Commercial Vehicle Wireless Mobile Column Lifts

NHVAS changes announced

New rules governing the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme are on their way and effective next month. This week’s announcement by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator sets out changes to the auditing provisions of the NHVAS which will be in force from March. These changes are part of the National Transport Commission/NHVR National Heavy Vehicle Roadworthiness program. Read more

One voice on critical COR reform

All of the representatives of the trucking industry have agreed to a single submission to the National Transport Commission on amendments needed to improve the current chain of responsibility situation. Speaking at an industry information forum, hosted by Cooper Grace Ward Lawyers on the Gold Coast today, Chris Melham has outlined the road transport industry’s position on COR. Read more

Talking Turkey About Trucking

Getting the story out there

By the time we get to the ATA conference in March, the trucking industry will have seen a lot of changes in the past year or so, among the people representing stakeholders. A large proportion of those representing the transport industry in industry associations, as well as those heading the important government agencies and organisations we deal with, are part of leadership changes. Read more

Talking Turkey About Trucking

Self preservation

The headlines out of the recent meeting of the Transport and Infrastructure Council in Launceston in Tasmania were all about the issues the ministers needed to be seen doing something about, tightening up vehicle maintenance accreditation. Read more

Talking Turkey About Trucking

We are not worthy

The worthiness of trucks on the road is a hot issue for not only trucking operators, but also the regulators and government departments tasked to keep the industry compliant and the highways safe. It would seem a change in the way the road worthiness of a truck has been assessed and monitored is going to have a substantial change in the next few years. Read more

Talking Turkey About Trucking

Picking the right fight

Sometimes it is just choosing your battles and the timing of them which achieves results. Getting the target or the timing wrong and you send the incorrect message and miss your target. The submission by the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) to the joint National Transport Commission/National Heavy Vehicle Regulator heavy vehicle roadworthiness review sets out to attack a direct competitor, sending out the wrong message, if progress is the aim. Read more

Getting PBS to work

The Australian trucking industry has been very patient with the Performance Based Standards (PBS) system for some time. A new discussion paper released by the National Transport Commission is looking at ways to extend the benefits, in terms of increased payload capacity, to non-PBS vehicles with the same specification.

The Discussion Paper aims to get industry and regulator feedback on how this extension of productivity benefits could be achieved and see PBS achieve the kind of improved outcomes promised when it was initially set up. Read more

Ravaglioli Commercial Vehicle Wireless Mobile Column Lifts

Getting the NHVAS roadworthy

Fatal truck crashes in recent times have concentrated attention on the assessment and maintenance of heavy trucks. The National Transport Commission and the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator are going through a process of developing how roadworthiness will work in the future. They are now asking industry for its feedback and suggestions on how to improve roadworthiness outcomes.


The first phase of the process was the release of a report outlining the issues. This concluded the situation was far from ideal and left a lot to be desired. See the Diesel News report at the time. 


“At this stage, data collection methods do not yield sufficient, reliable data to reach a conclusive determination about whether the NHVAS provides an effective mechanism for achieving road safety outcomes relative to its objectives,” said the report.


This week the NTC and NHVR have released the second of the two reports on Australia’s current roadworthiness systems.


“We’ve now completed the second step in the four-stage process of this program,” said Paul Retter, NTC CEO. 

“The NTC and NHVR have identified areas for short-term and long-term potential reforms. We’re now calling for submissions from industry and the community on the best way to improve heavy vehicle roadworthiness and make our nation’s roads safer.”


The second phase report identifies a number of improvements needed:


A clear definition of roadworthiness

Better education and training, particularly in relation to operators’ responsibilities

Chain of responsibility duties designed to improve the roadworthiness of heavy vehicles

A standardised ‘second party’ inspection system

Clearer arrangements for when and how defects are issued, and cleared

Robust accreditation and safety management systems, particularly to strengthen the NHVAS audit system


At this stage the NTC and NHVR need expert submissions to get feedback on how these aims can be reached. The trucking industry’s workshops are filled with people with hands on experience with both trucks and the, sometimes, unworkable accreditation systems. They will have to work with any new system which emerges and need to put ideas up for scrutiny now before the bureaucrats tie the trucking industry up in even more ineffective red tape.



“Release of these reports is a springboard to the next and possibly most critical stage of the Roadworthiness Program, where we consult with industry and start to shape recommendations based on industry feedback,” said Sal Petroccitto.



“I encourage anyone interested in better safety outcomes for the heavy vehicle industry to take the time to read the reports and get involved. 

Road safety professionals and transport company fleet managers should particularly study the concepts of ‘defence in depth’ which are presented in this paper as a model for assessing the integrity of the current national roadworthiness system.”


Feedback will be included in the Regulatory Impact Statement for consideration by Australia’s transport ministers, to be put forward in November. This will be followed by further consultation before the final changes are made to the current regime.



Submissions must be in by September 26, following which there will be national consultation on the final proposed improvements and changes.


The Phase 1 report is available here.


Phase 2 can be downloaded here.


Submissions can be made to the NTC website here.


The eight minute rule

The introduction of electronic work diaries is set to see the arrival of an eight minute period of grace, an allowance for miscalculation by the driver in each 24 hour period. Paul Retter, CEOP of the National Transport Commission has been explaining the consequences of the proposed rule in his message this week.


“Truck drivers who choose to use an EWD instead of a paper based diary won’t be fined for small, low-risk breaches of less than eight minutes,” said Retter. “This new eight minute rule will not apply to rest time and drivers will have a total of eight minutes across a 24 hour period, starting from a major rest break.


“This means a driver who exceeds work time by five minutes in the first period of work may only exceed work time by up to three minutes for the rest of that 24-hour period, unless the driver makes up for the five minutes at a later time in that day. This is intended to make it impractical to deliberately schedule the additional eight minutes as work time.”


This allowance has been brought in to reflect the current situation, in the work diary, where drivers record working and resting periods in 15 minute blocks. The EWD will record the precise time when the driver changes over from rest to work, to the minute.


The NTC suggest the introduction of the EWD will free up driver time, normally spent filling out work diaries. Whether the eight minutes leeway is going to be sufficient is difficult to assess. If truck drivers find the limits of exact time keeping, even with an eight minute buffer, difficult to handle, there may resistance to migrating across to the new technology.

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