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PRACTICAL ACTION TO BOOST DRAWBAR TRAILER SAFETY | TRANSPORT NEWS

A project aimed at enhancing drawbar trailer safety is now underway, led by the Australian Trucking Association’s (ATA) Industry Technical Council (ITC). 

“ITC members have recognised and expressed concerns regarding key technical safety aspects of drawbar trailers, specifically the use of Susie coil air lines for the emergency brake function in a breakaway,” ATA Chief Engineer Bob Woodward said today.  

Mr Woodward said a breakaway occurs when a trailer accidentally disconnects from the primary coupling and the secondary coupling such as a safety chain, if fitted, also fails. 

“In that circumstance, the emergency brake system must be designed to function and perform in accordance with Australian Design Rules, but we have encountered significant issues with Susie coil airlines,” he said. 

“This is not a new issue. The ATA issued a safety alert about the use of Susie coils in 2015, and an NHVR working group recommended in 2016 that their use on drawbar trailers be prohibited. But there is yet to be any action to regulate the serious safety risks involved.” 

The ITC has established an expert member working group to develop a Technical Advisory Procedure (TAP), a voluntary guide to meet the needs of industry and fill the gaps in vehicle standards. Developed by industry, for industry, ITC TAPs outline processes for safe, optimum component performance.  

The ATA ITC has an extensive library of Technical Advisory Procedures covering a range of relevant topics, including side underrun protection and heavy vehicle visibility, many of which have been adopted by project managers and operators across Australia.  

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