ATA welcomes Federal decision on trailer brake standards

The Federal Government mandates ABS or load proportioning systems on new trailers, albeit with some exceptions

ATA welcomes Federal decision on trailer brake standards
Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Jamie Briggs

The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) has congratulated the Federal Government for requiring all new heavy vehicle trailers to be fitted with anti-lock brakes (ABS) or load proportioning brakes.

The mandating decision was announced early this week. The new standards will take effect from July 1, 2014 for all new model trailers, and January 1, 2015 for all new trailers.

ATA Chief Executive Stuart St Clair says the requirement will help truck drivers retain control in emergency situations, such as when braking hard on a wet road.

"It’s a key safety measure in our strategic plan," St Clair says.

"The Government’s own regulation impact statement shows that requiring ABS for heavy trucks, trailers and buses will save more than 50 lives on our roads over the next thirty years."

The new braking requirements in an Australian Design Rule were announced by Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Jamie Briggs.

"I want to congratulate Minister Briggs for listening to the industry," St Clair says.

"I also want to congratulate the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development for working so closely with the ATA’s experts on the technical specifics of the new standards, such as the requirements for plugs, wiring and data signals.

"I’m pleased to say there will only be minimal exemptions from the standards. Very heavy trailers will be exempt – these trailers already meet the performance requirements because of their weight – as will road train converter dollies.

"Special purpose trailers with more than four tyres per axle or more than four axles in a single group will also be exempt.

"The technology cannot yet deal with these arrangements, and in any case these trailers are used under very restricted conditions, often involving escort vehicles and weather restrictions."

The ATA says it will continue working with other industry associations on developing a code of practice to help operators combine trucks and trailers with different braking technologies.

Read more on trailer brake systems in the February 2014 edition of Owner//Driver.

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