National Heavy Vehicle Braking Strategy

The Commonwealth Department of Infrastructure and Transport Technical Liaison Group recently held a meeting in Sydney to discuss the implementation of Phase 1 of the National Heavy Vehicle Braking Strategy.

The introduction of Phase 1 will see the mandatory use of anti-lock braking systems (ABS) on trucks and load sensing or ABS on trailers.

There was considerable discussion on the correct method of implementation of changes to ADR 38 for trailers operating in multi-combinations (MC). The new technology will result in four possible braking systems being allowed on MC vehicles: Standard Trailer, Load Sensing Trailer, ABS Trailer and Electronic Brake Stability (EBS) Trailer. However, concerns centred on the braking performance of these vehicles when assembled at random into roadtrain combinations.

Unable to gain consensus, members present at the meeting elected to send written submissions to the Federal Department and agreed to meet with the department to resolve the issue in October. Concern was also expressed about the effectiveness of load sensing when fitted to conventional steel sprung trailers and it was suggested this may be addressed by using ABS in these applications.

Individual trailers were not seen as an issue and therefore it was agreed either option could be used to achieve compliance, although it was deemed there could be problems with trailers used in B-double sets. Members discussed the potential value of rating B-double trailers to ensure future trailers are compatible. This would potentially result in all B-double trailers being equipped with ABS.

The changes to ADR 35 are much less contentious with no real obstacles forseen to prevent their introduction other than some off-road all-wheel-drive variants which may require a longer lead time to achieve compliance.

All comments and suggestions are welcome on ways to address the difficult issues regarding ADR 38.

Anyone wishing to comment on these issues and contribute to the submission for the October meeting should contact John Samson at the Commercial Vehicle Industry Association of Queensland: (07) 3376 6266 or email

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