New HVIA policy proposes tighter PBS requirements

With a focus on safety technology, the industry body is asking for feedback on its new PBS policy and has made further inroads into a review of the Motor Vehicle Standards Act

New HVIA policy proposes tighter PBS requirements
The HVIA has completed the first of three National Manufacturers Council meetings.


The first meeting of the Heavy Vehicle Industry Australia (HVIA)-established National Manufacturers Council has proposed advancing the body’s Performance Based Standards (PBS) Vehicles Policy and outlined an upcoming review of the Motor Vehicle Standards Act.

The inaugural meeting of the council, established to provide an opportunity for national members to add their voice to policy and technical issues relevant to the industry, took place in Brisbane and is one of three that will occur around the country.

With the remaining two meeting to occur in Melbourne on April 27 and in Perth on May 19, the council unveiled its new PBS policy for open discussion.

The new policy calls for a higher level of safety measures to be introduced as standard for all PBS approvals, with a need to ensure the standards are indeed ‘world’s best’.

"HVIA is committed to improving the safety and productivity of the heavy vehicle fleet," HVIA CEO Brett Wright says.

"PBS vehicles are the flagships of the fleet and it is critical that they meet a high minimum level of dynamic safety performance which provides assurance to the community".

For this to occur, the HVIA has suggested all PBS trucks be compliant and fitted with ABS and electrical connections per Australian Design Rule (ADR) 35/04.

PBS-approved trailers would need be fitted with EBS per UNECE R13 and a Vehicle Stability Function, which shall include Roll-over control meeting the requirements of Annex 21 of UNECE R13 – a move that NVIA says is "well documented and established" as "the ‘best bang for buck’ when it comes to rollover and/or accident prevention" on trailers.

"This is now a mature technology which together with ABS on the truck will see a marked improvement in the PBS fleet safety performance," the industry body says.

At present, the PBS standards state the following braking system requirements:

  • Full brake compatibility and load proportioning on all axles and all vehicle units; or
  • An acceptable form of ABS/EBS and automatic slack adjusters on all vehicle units; or
  • An acceptable form of ABS/EBS and automatic slack adjusters on a prime mover and full brake compatibility and load proportioning on all trailer axles.

The HVIA says these standards, combined with poor road conditions, can result in accidents.

"All it takes is for a marginal vehicle to be operating on a marginal part of the network with a small amount of driver error or adverse weather conditions to end up with a potential disaster," a policy statement from Wright says.

The body’s CEO says while "Australia’s PBS fleet is promoted as world’s best and the safest… the reality is many vehicles in the PBS fleet do not reflect the level of safety performance portrayed."

"There is not much that can be done about the road infrastructure, weather conditions or driver error in the short run.

"However, we can do something about eliminating the poorer performing PBS vehicles in the fleet."

The HVIA would also like to look at Front Under-run Protection (FUPS) certified to ADR 84 and UN ECE-R93 and safer cabs via compliance with UN ECE–R29 for cabin strength as additional flow-on effects of the PBS proposal.

Stating that these changes will "provide a baseline level of dynamic safety performance for the PBS fleet," the industry body is asking for comment and feedback from its members and the wider industry before it will call upon its implementation by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) and the state and territory governments.

The focus of the council’s look into the Motor Vehicle Standards Act is the need to review the arrangements around importing second-hand heavy vehicles, it says.

The council meeting in Brisbane also reviewed the progress of the Safety Chains and Coupling Review, National Heavy Vehicle Braking Strategy (mandating of ESC on heavy vehicles), VSB6 Review, Australian Standards committee work, Livestock Loading review, Load Restraint Guide Review, and Multi-combination Braking Compatibility Guide.

The next meeting of the National Manufacturers Council will take place on April 27 at Punt Hill, Essendon in Melbourne. It begins at 9am.

The third meeting, yet to have a venue confirmed, will occur on May 19 from 9am.



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