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NHVR calls to ‘accelerate’ PBS reform

Bruce Rock Engineering super quad

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator has called on the federal government to act fast on reform for the Performance Based Standards (PBS) scheme in a recently released paper.

‘Removing Roadblocks to Reform’ outlines the limitations of the PBS scheme, which the NHVR believes is too rigid, calling for the ability to have proposals heard to amend the standards based on industry feedback.

NHVR chief safety and productivity officer David Hourigan says the regulator would be committed to working alongside industry and government to create PBS changes.

“The ‘Removing Roadblocks to Reform’ paper outlines how we can work hand-in-hand with our partners to remove barriers to the productivity potential of the heavy vehicle industry,” Hourigan says.

“This will help us accelerate the transition to a younger and less polluting heavy vehicle fleet, and most importantly, save lives.

“Right now in Australia, the safest, most productive, and lower emission heavy vehicles face more barriers to get on the road than a standard ‘prescriptive’ heavy vehicle, and as a result, we are seeing higher emissions, loss of productivity benefits and most concerningly, more fatalities.

“We need to modernise the PBS scheme, and to do this we must change the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL).

“We seek to work with government and industry to reset the PBS scheme’s policy settings and update the PBS standards.”

Part of this call for change is the NHVR’s believes that the PBS scheme has failed to deliver what it promised, being a pathway for changes and innovations in heavy vehicle safety technology.

Through the ‘Removing Roadblocks to Reform’ paper, it says it is calling for amendments to the HVNL to allow for mature and proven PBS vehicles to transition to the prescriptive vehicle fleet.

It wants to see the initial aims of the scheme met – to improve freight productivity, to reduce the impact of CO2 emissions in Australia and minimise road trauma with safer vehicles.

“Rather than allowing for new truck designs, it is dominated by more or less of the same vehicles,” Hourigan says.

“Of more than 20,000 PBS combinations on Australia’s roads, almost half consist of one vehicle type – the truck and dog combination.”

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