WA Wins the Compliance Race, But Rigids Don’t 

WA wins the compliance race, but rigids don’t

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) has released its National Roadworthiness Survey (NRS) outlining the overall health of the national trucking fleet and demonstrates that WA wins the compliance race, but rigids don’t, as overall compliance continues to improve.

The data was determined by the roadside inspection of 8,338 vehicle combinations encompassing 13,325 overall units (hauling units and trailers) examined by the NHVR from May 5 to July 29 this year.

The results were then compared with those of the National Roadworthiness Baseline Survey 2016 (NRBS), where 7,130 vehicle combinations were inspected.

While the lowest incidence of conformity in the recent NRS was witnessed in rigid trucks with 62 per cent, conformity has increased in this category from 48 per cent since NRBS.

Road Trains were the combination with the highest levels of conformity and generally the conformity increased as the size of the combination increased. 

Sal Petroccitto, NHVR CEO, explained that the updated procedures used with the NRS streamlined the operation, resulting in reduced average inspection times of 31 minutes (down from 45 minutes with NRBS), equating to 2,000 hours of productivity gain.

To achieve this, the NHVR and jurisdictional partners, in partnership with Kantar Australia, a data and evidence-based agency, developed improved systems and roadside data capture applications, including the integration of registration data and co-ordinated inspection methodologies using a team’s approach.

Nationally, 75 per cent of units passed inspection, a significant increase from 55 per cent during NRBS. 

Most vehicles were inspected in the same jurisdiction in which they were registered. Conformity was virtually line-ball between units inspected in the state of their registration compared to those vehicles inspected interstate, while the national median mileage was almost 300,000km.

Petroccitto noted that the average age of heavy vehicles on Australian roads is now 10.2 years and that the proportion of vehicles in the national fleet over 12 years of age increased from 29 per cent (NRBS) to 38 per cent.

“This collective suggests an ageing of the national fleet and the NRS also determined there is a direct correlation between vehicle age and non-conformity,” said Sal.

He added that the flow-on effects of the Government’s Instant Asset Write-off Scheme should serve to reduce the average age of Australia’s heavy vehicle fleet in the coming years. 

Conformity rates have increased across all vehicle types since NRBS, particularly for buses and coaches with a national average of 69 per cent. State and Territory conformity percentages varied from 51 per cent (ACT) to 83 per cent (WA). Overall, 31 per cent of units inspected had at least one non-conformity, which is a significant decrease from 48 per cent in NRBS.

“Overall, the health of the fleet has improved which is a really big positive,” said Sal.

One of the ongoing issues for truck operators has been the relative disparity between enforcement between states and territories, and specifically between the neighbouring states of New South Wales and Queensland.

Sal acknowledged there was still some way to go, but emphasised that statistics showed things were moving in the right direction in terms of a more uniform national compliance and enforcement regime between jurisdictions.

“We saw an improvement in Queensland enforcement in the time between the two surveys, even though the state has had some challenges during COVID with a significant number of inspectorial staff doing border controls,” said Sal. “I would say the gap is narrowing between NSW and Queensland and there’s also been a big improvement in Victoria.” 

According to the NRS, those jurisdictions with the highest levels of conformities were Western Australia, Northern Territory and South Australia. The jurisdictions with the highest incidence of non-conformity were ACT, Queensland and Tasmania. 

Sal concluded by emphasising that in addition to safety, the extra productivity enabled by a more compliant fleet is of vital importance.

“We have less trucks breaking down which means productivity is better and we’re not seeing as much congestion in urban environments,” said Sal. “This is much broader than just safety – there’s a massive productivity benefit when we have a fleet that continues to run and operate a lot better than it used to.”

Full Survey Results Available Here

WA wins the compliance race, but rigids don’t

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