Bringing in a measure to mandate stability control for all trucks seems to be approved of by many around the trucking industry. With the need to continue to improve safety outcomes for trucking, and the general community, this would seem to be a consensus view.
In a submission lodged with the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities on, NatRoad urged the Government to require all new heavy vehicles and trailers to be fitted with electronic stability control (ESC) or roll stability control (RSC).
“The consultation regulation impact statement sets out the case for mandating ESC for new heavy trucks and buses and RSC for heavy trailers, through modification of the Australian Design Rules,” said Warren Clark, NatRoad CEO. “The preferred Government option is to limit this mandatory requirement to heavy vehicles exclusive of heavy rigid vehicles. It does so based on the assumption that there is a higher probability of prime movers being involved in a fatal or serious injury crash involving a rollover or loss of control.
“But NatRoad supports broader implementation because we place road safety as a top priority. The NatRoad preferred option is projected by the Government to save an additional 24 lives over 15 years and avoid an additional 412 serious injuries to workers and the public.
“Whilst this comes at an additional cost to industry, NatRoad supports the use of engineering controls as a reasonably practicable measure to minimise the hazards and associated risks of roll-overs. We are therefore supportive of the prospective mandating of ESC and RSC systems in new heavy vehicles.
“The Government proposals about timing are supported. They provide an adequate lead-in time for the industry to adapt.”
In a similar vein the submission to the Government from the Heavy Vehicle Industry Association highlights the disincentives for trucking operators to update their fleet to include vehicles with improved safety technology.
“There are a significant number of ways that Government can also influence fleet purchases ranging from changing taxation policy, to removing constraints on access for vehicles fitted with the latest technology,” said Greg Forbes, HVIA’s National Policy & Government Relations Manager. “To accelerate the take up rate of new safety technologies it is important that operators are encouraged to buy new vehicles.
“Current statistics suggest, however, that the rate of purchase of new vehicles is slowing, resulting in an ageing of the fleet. Indirectly, the current regulatory environment has created strong disincentives for operators to purchase a new vehicle based on available load capacity.
“Even though there may be fuel savings, additional safety and productivity features available to the operator, purchasing a new vehicle is not an attractive proposition to a significant number of operators. Updates to vehicle technology has resulted in increases in heavy vehicle tare mass over the last 20 years when considering identically specified vehicles.
“Unless government address some of these current indirect factors – mandating the new braking standards will not see the majority of heavy vehicles with ABS, ESC and/or RSC until after the 2030 to 2035 time frame.
“Even a small reduction of average age will see an improvement in ABS penetration, as many OEM’s began fitting ABS as standard.”