New requirements for portable warning triangles

Changes to Australian road rules introduces new requirements for use of warning triangles for heavy vehicles and fallen loads

New requirements for portable warning triangles
New requirements for portable warning triangles

By Brad Gardner | February 6, 2012

Truck drivers will soon be bound by new requirements when using portable warning triangles for stricken heavy vehicles and fallen loads.

Transport ministers recently agreed to a package of amendments to Australian road rules to broaden the scope of when warning triangles need to be used.

The move came in response to a coronial investigation into a fatal crash involving a heavy vehicle, but the change will only take effect once state and territory governments pass it.

Under the changes, truck drivers will need to use at least three triangles if a road’s speed limit is 80km/h or more and the truck cannot be seen from the site of the incident for at least 300 metres in all directions.

Drivers will need to place one triangle each at least 200 metres – but not more than 250 metres – behind and in front of the vehicle or fallen load on an undivided road.

The third triangle must be placed next to the vehicle or fallen load to give motorists sufficient warning.

If a truck breaks down or loses its load on a one-way street or divided road, drivers will need to place the second triangle between the accident site and the first triangle at least 200 metres away.

"It’s important for road users to remember that the changes do not come into effect until they are implemented by state and territory governments," NTC CEO Nick Dimopoulos says.

"We encourage all road users interested in understanding the changes to contact their state or territory road authority."

The new package still retains the existing rule, which requires drivers to use at least three triangles if the truck or load is not visible for at least 200 metres in all directions.

The rule applies if the vehicle is on a stretch of road with a speed limit of less than 80km/h.

Drivers need to place triangles at least 50 metres – but not more than 150 metres – in front and behind the vehicle or load on an undivided road. The third triangle must be plonked next to the truck or fallen freight.

The rule regarding one-way streets or divided roads also applies, with drivers required to place a triangle between the truck and the first triangle at least 50 metres away.

Transport ministers also signed off on changes to the required minimum distance between long vehicles.

Unless otherwise specified, a road train must stay at least 200 metres behind a long vehicle.

A long vehicle, other than a road train, travelling behind another long vehicle must keep a distance of 60 metres unless a jurisdiction requires otherwise.

The new road rules package includes requirements for drivers of taxis and minibuses to make sure children are properly restrained and for motorists to stop around trams.

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