The NHVR has released a discussion paper  today on how to implement the Australian Government’s Safer Freight Vehicle (SFV) reform proposals, including increasing the width of heavy vehicles fitted with modern safety technologies.

The subject of widening truck and bus widths from the current 2.5 metres to 2.55 metres  has been the subject of bureaucratic procrastination, selective corporate lobbying and enough discussion to fill  Sydney Harbour many times over in a  debate that has dragged on for well more than a decade. the Discussion Paper seemingly marks another  delay in implementing a reform that is necessary to ensure australia does not miss out on the latest in safety and emission technology in heavy vehicles. The procrastination has already resulted in Daimler withdrawing from bus sales in this country because it could not economically source  its ward winning Citaro bus range in a  right hand drive version with a width  to suit our rules.

The NHVR clearly is advocating for the reforms but in a call for opinion from the industry on the Paper, the Regulator  will surely mean a decision and legislation are pushed even further back.

NHVR chief regulatory policy and standards officer, David Hourigan said the reforms would support the uptake of safer heavy vehicles by increasing the overall width up to 2.55m or 2.60m.

“The proposed SFV reforms would increase the fitment of safety technologies to new heavy vehicles by aligning local width regulations with those in major markets such as Europe,” Hourigan said.

“These reforms will give industry access to a greater range of heavy vehicles fitted with the latest safety technologies,” Hourigan added.

“We want to hear from industry and further unpack how to implement these Australian Design Rule (ADR) changes into the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL),” he said.

According to the proposed Safer Freight reforms, any vehicles exceeding 2.50m in width would need to be fitted with a mandatory technology package. This technology package includes features such as Advanced Emergency Braking (AEB, Improved rear vision mirrors and systems, Lane Departure Warning,Side underrun protection (SUP); and Improved conspicuity markings, all of which is available on  wide range of imported trucks and buses already being sold here

The NHVR said that ‘once finalised in Europe, blind spot information systems and advanced systems that detect pedestrians and cyclists on the passenger side of heavy vehicles will also be required as part of the mandatory technology package’. Again all of these electronic safety features are already available on  a number of  heavy vehicles already here.

Hourigan said while the Australian Government is still finalising the finer details of these reforms, the NHVR is proactively considering how these changes might change the HVNL.

In its defence the NHVR dies say that the industry is ready for the change.

“The heavy vehicle industry and truck manufacturers are ready for this next generation of safer trucks. The NHVR wants to make sure the HVNL is prepared to get these safer trucks on our roads.”

To read the Discussion Paper and find out how to submit your feedback, visit

The closing date for written submissions is Friday 30 June 2023.