ATA seconds NTC safety proposal

Trucking body suggests using reflective tapes on trucks and abolishing registration labels

ATA seconds NTC safety proposal
Christopher Melham says that businesses should be allowed to pay their registration charges monthly.


The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) is calling for the use of reflective tapes on trucks to improve visibility and eliminating the use of registration labels on trucks to save both time and money.

ATA senior engineering adviser Chris Loose says using retroreflective tape on trucks can reduce crashes between trucks and cars by up to 44 per cent.

The suggestion is part of ATA’s updated technical advisory procedure on heavy vehicle visibility.

"Without high visibility markings the risk of an accident between a truck and a car is 30 times greater," Loose says.

"A truck with outline reflective markings can be recognised much earlier, allowing more time for drivers to manoeuvre safely.

"In both the United States and Europe, the installation of retroreflective tape has resulted in major reductions in accidents, including side and rear impacts and reducing accidents in poor lighting conditions.

"With about 30 per cent of Australian multi vehicle crashes occurring at dusk and overnight when traffic is lightest but visibility is critical, retroreflective tape on trucks is a vital safety issue."

Developed by ATA’s Industry Technical Council, the procedure includes technical advice on the placement of contour markings with retroreflective tape, key material and dimensional requirements, cost estimates and applicability to vehicle types.

"The ATA’s updated technical advisory procedure provides in-depth guidance on key dimensional requirements and the placement of either full, partial, or stripe markings.

"As illustrated in the application examples, this demonstrates that installation of retroreflective tape is possible across the wide variety of trucks that are on our roads."

Meanwhile, ATA chief executive Christopher Melham has backed proposals laid out by the National Transport Commission (NTC) on improving the existing ‘pay as you go’ (PAYGO) methodology.

ATA concurs with the suggestions outlined by the NTC, including how to improve the existing method of setting heavy vehicle charges and how to better balance the charges with government revenues.

Submitting ATA’s feedback to the NTC, Melham says that truck registration labels should be abolished and businesses be allowed to pay their registration charges monthly.

"The Western Australian approach to removing labels should be extended nationally, and operators should be able to make monthly payments to reduce the cash flow burden of the high charges," Melham says.

He says the governments should accept the NTC’s conclusion that the existing system will overtax truck and bus operators by more than half a billion dollars between 2016-17 and 2017-18, and immediately cut charges.

"The heavy vehicle charging system must be a cost-recovery mechanism, not a general taxation regime.

"If governments do not accept this recommendation, the only acceptable alternative in the ATA’s view would be to investigate a technical change to the way the PAYGO cost base is calculated, so it would include one year of forecast and one year of estimated expenditure.

"Modelling commissioned by the ATA shows that this approach should address the revenue concerns of governments while still providing fair results for the industry."

Melham says the PAYGO model has not yet succeeded in delivering predictable and stable registration charges.

"Trucking businesses need heavy vehicle charges to remain stable from year to year, or at least to change at a relatively stable rate.

"Our submission recommends that governments should empower the National Transport Commission to determine a smoothed path for charges during what should become fixed, five year determination periods.

"The NTC should also be designated as the independent pricing regulator for heavy vehicle charges, with decisions appealable to the Australian Competition Tribunal. At present, the NTC only has the ability to recommend charges."
The submission recommends against adopting the ‘building block’ pricing model that is used to regulate many monopoly prices due to its complexity and expense.



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