Despite Australia lagging Europe, Japan and many other development economies in adopting an equivalent to Euro 6 vehicle standards, the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) has released a blueprint it says will ‘support manufacturers and operators to incorporate the latest safety technology into new and existing heavy vehicles’.
Assistant Minister for Road Safety and Freight Transport, Scott Buchholz said the Vehicle Safety and Environmental Technology Uptake Plan outlined five work packages to give Australia’s heavy vehicle industry certainty when installing new safety technology.
“Heavy vehicle manufacturers are designing technology, both here locally and overseas, to improve safety and get drivers home safely,” Mr Buchholz said.
“This technology is available and I want to clear the way to encourage the use of that technology and make sure there are no regulatory barriers when it comes to manufacturers identifying and installing new systems.
“For example, lane departure warning, autonomous emergency braking systems and pedestrian and cyclist detection systems are all available, so let’s see them on more new vehicles.”
Truck & Bus News would respectfully point out that at the moment that technology is already being adopted by many truck makers and as far as we can tell there are no government regulatory barriers preventing that safety tech being fitted to trucks in Australia. We would suggest that perhaps the adoption of there safety features as mandatory ad perhaps an incentive for getting old trucks off the road might be a more useful move.
The adoption of Euro 6 in Australia has been deferred several times, a factor that would see some significant safety and environmental gains, while the adoption of 2.55 metre width rules for commercial vehicles, a move that would also align with Europe, has been delayed for many years. The adoption of those two moves alone would go along way to safer and more efficient trucks and buses on our roads.
The NHVR says its Vehicle SETUP Plan was developed following a survey of manufacturers two years ago in 2018, and is designed to meet the targets set out in the Federal Government’s National Road Safety Action Plan 2018-2020.
]The Vehicle Safety and Environmental Uptake Plan (Vehicle SETUP) according to the NHVR, outlines a program of work it will undertake to accelerate the introduction of new safety and environmental technologies into the Australian heavy vehicle market.
The plan contains five work packages that aim to encourage operators to incorporate newer, more technologically advanced vehicles into their fleets by removing regulatory barriers that limit the adoption of advanced technologies, offering productivity gains as an incentive for the adoption of advanced technologies, providing education to industry on the safety, productivity and environmental benefits of new vehicle technology.
NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto said the plan would be delivered over five work packages, including better harmonisation of Australian vehicle standards, better access to the latest vehicle technologies, ensuring appropriate in-service requirements, and industry education about new and emerging technology.
“When we surveyed manufacturers, we saw that there was very little consistency when it comes to installing newer types of safety technology,” Mr Petroccitto said.
“For example, stability control was included on 78 per cent of new vehicles, but fatigue monitoring systems were used on less than one in five, while lane keep assist featured on one in four new vehicles.”
The Truck Industry Council CEO Tony McMullan welcomed the plan and said manufacturers supported steps to remove barriers.
“By removing barriers and aligning standards such as width and mass, manufacturers will have access to more trucks, meaning more options and lower costs for operators,” he said.
We can but agree with Mr McMullan and hope that the many delays and deferments, some of which have been pushed by TIC members, can be put behind us and more advance safety and efficiency technology can be seen on Australian trucks.
To view the Vehicle SETUP uptake plan go to www.nhvr.gov.au/VehicleSETUP
NHVR It will be delivered in consultation with government and industry, and will contribute to the delivery of the National Road Safety Action Plan 2018-2020.