HVIA brings vehicle width and standards Act issues to talks


Members to discuss push for wider vehicle and greater steer axle mass

HVIA brings vehicle width and standards Act issues to talks
The width paper’s cover

 

Heavy Vehicle Industry Australia (HVIA) has issued papers before conducting state committee meetings in Brisbane and Sydney on truck and trailer width and the Road Vehicle Standards Act (RVSA).

These items are listed on the agendas and will be up for discussion.

The truck and trailer width document tackles the perception that vehicle width and vehicle steer axle mass are constraining the uptake of advanced safety features on heavy trucks.

Given Australia is a European and US technology taker, rather than maker, it is argued that Australian rules impose an avoidable reengineering compliance burden for vehicles designed overseas to different width and axle-mass criteria.

HVIA believes that "any increases in width should be considered in conjunction with increased steer axle masses.

"Moving to Euro 6 will generally require fitting of additional emissions control equipment to the engine.

"If steer axle masses are not increased, the potential safety and environmental benefits may not materialise by increasing width alone.

"This is because the permitted maximum steer axle mass will continue to restrict the addition of emissions control and safety equipment to the vehicle."

HVIA does not support a blanket approach to the width changes for heavy trailers and therefore would not support a straight-out move to 2.55m across the board as current width limits do not act as an impediment to the adoption of advanced safety options for trailers.

The debate comes as the recommendations of the National Road Safety Strategy Action Plan’s (2018-20) ‘critical action’ to Investigate the introduction of safer, cleaner vehicles by minimising regulatory barriers and Austroads Project NEF6116: Exploration of Heavy Freight Vehicle Dimensions: Productivity Safety and Other Considerations have emerged in the past 12 months.

The Austroads report is likely to be completed in October, after which changes to vehicle width will be considered by government.

HVIA notes truck manufacturer backing for the move, to allow for safety technology and Euro 6-type emission standards, while component manufacturers are less moved.

At a June Strategic Vehicle Safety and Environment Group (SVSEG) meeting, the federal infrastructure and transport department outlined the following potential timeline for consideration:

  • minor changes to the Australian Design Rules (ADRs) this year to allow advanced vision systems compliant with UN Standard R46 to be excluded from width calculations, and ADR43 would be amended to allow changes to axle spacing, transitional mass and rear overhang requirements to be aligned with European equivalents.
  • subject to a regulatory impact statement (RIS), truck width be aligned next year to UN standards (2.55m) provided there is improved safety performance. Vehicles wider than the existing width requirements must comply with additional ADR requirements including: having a lane departure warning system (LDWS) in line with UN R130; having more sophisticated vision systems in line with UN R46 but providing allowance for local variations for US and longer combinations; complying with side underrun protection barriers in line with UN R73.                        

Also, in 2020, SVSEG has suggests that states and territories should consider changes to axle mass limits for vehicles meeting Euro 6 emission standards.

In 2022 the case for changes to width allowances for refrigerated bodywork, and trailers would be considered along with the case for changes to align with the US standards for width.

It is also proposed that the requirements for LDWS and vision systems would become mandatory for all vehicles and ADR 43 would be amended to require audible/visible warning alarms. The case for turning alarms and blinds spot detection systems (BSDS) would be considered at this time.


Read how the HVIA backed the RVSA implementation delay, here


For its part, HVIA backs a "no disadvantage" test for Australian industry.

Given the broad nature of its membership, it argues any RIS would need to examine the full range of affects.

HVIA would back a change where it

  • is likely to achieve productivity, improved safety impacts, or experience reduced regulatory costs which exceed the potential negative impacts on local industry (including job losses to local manufacturing)
  • inclusion of safety features is the rationale for the change to width the inclusion of the safety features should be mandated for vehicles taking advantage of the additional width
  • includes a transition plan if gains are marginal or contain risks.

The full vehicle width report can be found here

The status report on the RVSA can be found here.

 

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