A Taste of the NHVR Roadside Experience

Diesel News got a taste of the NHVR Roadside Experience on a recent visit to South Australia, where the first roadside enforcement officers, employed directly by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator are looking after heavy vehicles in the state. Read more

Where the NHVR Rubber Hits the Road

Where the NHVR Rubber Hits the Road

On the side of the Princes Highway in SA with an enforcement team is where the NHVR rubber hits the road. Standing under a bright South Australian sun at a hilltop weighing station just outside of Tailem Bend on the main Adelaide to Melbourne freight route, watching trucks coming into a weigh station to get the once over from the scalies, set me reminiscing.
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Shane Wants You To Tell a Mate 

Shane Wants You To Tell a Mate 

The message from the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator this week is all about how Shane wants you to tell a mate. The NHVR has teamed up with one of Australia’s best known TV and big screen personalities to talk heavy vehicle safety. Read more

Simpler PBS Approval Expanded

Simpler PBS Approval Expanded

The latest announcement from the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator has seen simpler PBS expanded. The NHVR has added additional PBS Truck and Dog combinations to heavy vehicles classes for Performance Based Standards (PBS) pre-advised approval.


Simpler PBS Approval Expanded


NHVR Chief Engineer Les Bruzsa said from today three or four axle truck and five or six axle dog combinations up to 26 m long and 73 tonnes GCM will now qualify for the PBS pre-advised approval.


“This means additional PBS combination types can be assessed and receive a Design Approval by the NHVR without submitting the application to the PBS Review Panel,” said Les. “Since we conducted a trial of pre-advised design approvals last year, we have been steadily adding combinations to now cover 85 per cent of all design approvals. This has reduced application processing times for applicable vehicle types from an average of four weeks to just three business days.”


Simpler PBS Approval Expanded
NHVR Chief Engineer Les Bruzsa


Other eligible combinations include:

  • Level 1, 3- or 4-axle truck and 3- or 4-axle dog combinations up to 20m long and 50.5t GCM
  • Level 2, 3- or 4-axle truck and 3- or 4-axle dog combinations up to 20m long and 62t GCM
  • Level 1, prime mover and tri- or quad-axle semitrailer combinations up to 20m long and 50.5t GCM
  • Level 1, B-doubles fitted with tandem or tri-axle groups up to 20m long and 50.5t GCM
  • Level 2, B-doubles fitted with tandem or tri-axle groups up to 26m long and 68.5t GCM
  • Level 2, A-doubles with single, tandem or tri-axle semitrailers and tandem or tri-axle dollies up to 30m long and 85t GCM
  • Level 3, A-doubles up to 36.5m long and 95.5t GCM.


Simpler PBS Approval Expanded


During 2016-17 the scheme continued to grow with 1416 PBS combinations approved by the NHVR, which was a 23 per cent increase on the previous year. Since being introduced in 2007 the scheme has seen over 6400 innovative combinations enter the heavy vehicle fleet.


For more information on the PBS scheme click here. 







Getting Tippers Right

Getting Tippers Right

When it comes to the question of getting tippers right, the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator wants the trailer manufacturers to make the regulations work both for them and their customers. The Heavy Vehicle Industry Association has been asked by the NHVR to lead the development of a new VSB6 modification code that covers the design of tipper bodies.


Getting Tippers Right


Following the release of Vehicle Standards Bulletin 6 (VSB6) Version 3 in July 2017, both HVIA and the NHVR received feedback from tipper body manufacturers revealing confusion over the best way to achieve compliance.


“Some manufacturers raised concerns that some tippers would require re-design of tipper body systems in order to meet Australian Standards, required under VSB6,” said Peter Austin, NHVR Vehicle Safety and Performance Manager. “The NHVR recently reviewed the requirements of the relevant parts of the Australian Standard and agreed that the design of tipping systems involves a reasonable amount of engineer level work.


“Rather than requiring an engineer to assess every tipper body installation, the NHVR is proposing that a two stage design-modification approach be adopted. We’ve asked Heavy Vehicle Industry Australia (HVIA) to provide a draft of the code in consultation with industry.”


Australian Standard AS1418.8 section 4 sets the requirements for tip truck hoisting systems (tipper body systems). These standards have been adopted as part of VSB6 Version 3.


To be compliant with the standards, re-design of tipper body system components may be necessary in some cases.


“The NHVR recognised the amount of engineer-level work that designing tipping systems requires, and that clearer design guidance is required than outlined in the current VSB6 Section J ” said Paul Caus, HVIA Chief Technical Officer. “Rather than requiring an engineer to assess every tipper body installation, the NHVR is proposing a two stage design-modification approach be adopted. Over the next few weeks HVIA will confer with members who design, manufacture and certify tippers towards creating a working group for the project.”


Getting Tippers Right


Todd Hacking, HVIA CEO, welcomed the opportunity to draft the modification code.


“This has been an issue raised with us by our members and we look forward to working with them to find a solution,” said Hacking. ”HVIA has a proud history of working with Government to find technical solutions, including drafting numerous sections of VSB6 30 years ago.”

Are You Going to Use an EWD?

Are You Going to Use an EWD?

The question many truck owners and truck drivers are asking themselves is, are you going to use an EWD? Electronic Work Diaries are about to become a reality as the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator releases the draft Electronic Work Diary (EWD) Compliance Policy ensuring that heavy vehicle drivers using either electronic or written work diaries are treated the same.


Are You Going to Use an EWD?


“The policy outlines the NHVR’s requirements for meeting record keeping laws whether you utilise the technology or use traditional Written Work Diaries (WWDs),” said Geoff Casey, NHVR Safety and Productivity Executive Director. “For example, EWDs will record and show work and rest time to the nearest minute, unlike WWDs which use blocks of 15 minutes. This will be a benefit to many drivers who will no longer have to round down rest time, or round up work time, to the nearest 15 minute block.


“The EWD Compliance Policy will also make it clear that while an EWD must alert drivers of an approaching work or rest deadline, potential minor breaches of less than 15 minutes will not appear as a breach in the EWD Compliance View.


“Authorised officers who check EWDs will access the Compliance View of a driver’s work and rest times. Drivers will also have the ability to correct information prior to approving their work and rest times at the end of each work day.”


As EWDs may provide greater visibility of drivers’ records at the roadside, the NHVR said the requirements about recording and interpreting EWD information must be equivalent to a written diary in three key aspects

  • Drivers control their work and rest records entered into the EWD
  • Drivers can review and correct their information
  • Minor breaches of less than 15 minutes should not be sanctioned unless there is an immediate safety concern or a pattern of deliberate and repeated non-compliance.


Another aspect of the EWD is ensuring drivers will understand how to use them. As a result any approved systems must:

  • Guide drivers through information to be completed, step-by-step
  • Alert drivers to any impending breaches
  • Allow drivers to check the information before confirming the records for the day


Are You Going to Use an EWD?


Drivers must carry the previous 28 days’ work and rest records and give these records to their record keepers. All approved EWDs will automatically load drivers’ previous 28 days’ of work and rest records into the new EWD on login. Driver records are transmitted to the record keeper at least once per day. Drivers will be alerted about any communication issues that prevent this transmission.


In order to ensure the driver using an EWD is not worse off then a colleague using a written diary, the NHVR’s stated position on the use of EWD information is that drivers using EWDs should be treated fairly compared to users of a written diary. Requirements about recording and interpreting EWD information must be equivalent to a written record in three key aspects:

  • Drivers control their work and rest records entered into the EWD.
  • Drivers can review and correct their information.
  • Minor breaches of less than 15 minutes should not be sanctioned unless there is an immediate safety concern or a pattern of deliberate and repeated non-compliance.



Support EWDs With Reservations

Resistance to EWDs

In a show of resistance to EWDs, and in its submission to the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator, the Australian Trucking Association says it does not support the rollout of voluntary electronic work diaries as proposed.


Resistance to EWDs


“We do not support the NHVR’s draft EWD policy framework and standards, because the standards don’t meet the needs of the industry and they focus more on enforcement than achieving safety outcomes,” said Melissa Weller, ATA Safety and Skills Adviser. “The current NHVR draft policy and standards offer insufficient tolerances and no flexibility, leaving drivers exposed to prosecution for inconsequential technical breaches that will have no impact on safety.


“The ATA believes the primary aim of EWDs must be to increase industry safety through better fatigue management by aiding drivers in achieving compliance – not to increase enforcement opportunities.”


The ATA submission on the draft EWD policy framework and standards recommends the NHVR should not proceed with the rollout of voluntary EWDs until:

  • the fatigue regulations have been amended to include realistic EWD tolerances,
  • further action is taken to increase the quantity, capacity and quality of driver rest areas,
  • the standards are amended so that EWDs do not provide a 28 day list of minor breaches to enforcement officers.
  • a statement has been issued by the NHVR clarifying the meaning of ‘voluntary’ EWD with specific reference to NHVAS, PBS, notice and permit conditions.

Resistance to EWDs


“Technology could play a huge role in guiding and improving business and driver behaviour around fatigue management, but the current system doesn’t include what is known about the science of sleep,” said Ben Maguire, ATA CEO. “The conversation about fatigue must change. Drivers are individuals and fatigue is a biological state. Not everybody functions the same way or has the same health status. Prescribing the exact hours and minutes is no longer showing results.”


Resistance to EWDs


The ATA points out it has initiated a driver fatigue management hackathon, to be held at Trucking Australia in April 2018. This is an opportunity for developers to challenge thinking about driver fatigue management and investigate innovative ideas that can advance the industry and save lives. Trucking Australia delegates will be able to question the developers, apply their practical expertise and select the best idea to take forward.


The ATA’s submission.




Trucking in the Twitterverse

Trucking in the Twitterverse

Diesel News keeps an eye on trucking in the Twitterverse and brings you this week’s highlights. We have Tweets from the NHVR on the road, loading hay in the USA and another truck rollover in the news.

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator was back out on the highway again in its charm offensive, communicating one-to-one with the truck driving community, this time in Goondiwindi:

This is how they load hay in the US. The question Diesel News would like to ask is, how do they get it out at the other end? Tip the trailer up and shake it?

Yet another rollover, they are one of those incidents which make for a shocking image and are never good for the image of trucking:




Owner Driver Guide To CoR

Many working in the trucking industry are looking for a comprehensive owner driver guide to CoR (Chain of Responsibility) legislation and the implication for individual operators. The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator has been running a series of seminars to get the message out there about the new rules.


Owner Driver Guide To CoR


Talking to a room full of small operators in the Truganina facility, Kym Farquharson-Jones, NHVR Senior Advisor – Chain of Responsibility, uses her experience as a Queensland police officer and as roadside enforcement for Transport and Main Roads (TMR) in Queensland to colour her message and explain the situation.


There are four areas where an owner-driver needs to be concerned about risks. The first is the truck itself, then the load the truck is carrying, the road the truck is using and the person who is driving it.


The Vehicle


Risks from the vehicle come from safety standards. By running through a checklist at the start of the journey it is possible to reduce risk around the condition of the vehicle. Does it meet the safety standards and the dimension requirements? Is it within axle and weight regulations? Is the load correctly restrained, and the vehicle and load okay for the route it’s going to take? When it’s out on the road, is it within speed limits?


Answer yes to this set of questions and the owner and driver of the truck have done all things possible to reduce risk of committing an offence and being open to CoR action.


For anyone who owns a truck there is a level of maintenance and recording of that maintenance which has to be done to meet the rules. The daily check needs to be effective. It has to be a robust enough check to ensure the truck is alright to go on the road. The driver needs to be able to check the things they are able to look at.


The rules simply say a person must not drive a truck on a road if it is unsafe.


The Mass


“Mass, dimension and loading have provisions in the rules which are all the same,” says Kym. “You mustn’t get too caught up in the words, you can replace mass with loading, or loading with dimension.

“It’s a big bunch of text which really says it’s up to the driver to make sure the mass complies with mass requirements. The obligation is still on the driver. The interesting thing is there are no longer ‘reasonable steps’. It just says, without a reasonable excuse. It’s important to stress, the changes in the CoR rules have new penalties, but the penalties for drivers have not been affected.”


The Load


The Load Restraint Guide is currently being renewed by the National Transport Commission (NTC) and in the meantime it has published a draft guide. It should be handed over to the NHVR to be introduced to the industry and roadside enforcement in the run-up to the new CoR laws coming online in July.


The changes to the rules seem to be in line with current thinking, but are not expected to be a major departure from the current guidelines. The language and illustrations are reckoned to be easier to understand and presented clearly for the industry. However, the small-operator community will need to be aware of any changes and ensure its load-securing methods are brought up to speed.


Boiling the issue of loading down to its basics, the way the CoR rules will look at it, loading any type of freight poses the same questions. Is the load restraint going to stop any unacceptable movement? The restraint must stop the load becoming dislodged. Any movement of freight must be limited and must not adversely affect the stability of the vehicle.


The hauling of shipping containers has caused a certain amount of concern, in terms of vehicle stability, as the truck driver has no control or knowledge of how the container was packed. This is likely to pose some difficult CoR questions.


The Driver


The driver has to be mentally and physically fit to do the task. Fatigue, drugs and alcohol must not be affecting the driver. For the owner-driver, this applies to the owner themselves, but employing someone puts the onus on the employer to ensure the driver is fit and able.


Drivers think of the work diary as being the most important part of fatigue management, making sure the diary is right and compliant is of paramount importance to many in the industry.


Owner Driver Guide To CoR


“Yes, getting the diary right is important,” says Kym. “The most important component of fatigue is managing fatigue. The legislation defines fatigue as feeling sleepy, tired or exhausted. We all know it’s not limited to this. Once you start to feel like this, it’s actually too late. You need to manage your fatigue, as a driver, much earlier. You need to be aware of when you start to lose energy; it needs to be managed before it gets to the sleepy stage.


“The other part of it is in managing compliance. You have to be sure you are managing work records. Yes, you keep a record, but you have to be able to convince your employer, you’ve complied with the conditions of the law.”




Preventative Maintenance is Vital

Is Roller Brake Testing Finally Sorted?

After a long drawn out process, the trucking industry can finally ask, is roller brake testing finally sorted? According to the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator, new roller brake testing procedures have commenced across Australia. This follows 18 months of testing and evaluation after it was found existing procedures were producing inconsistent results after national standards were brought in.


Is Roller Brake Testing Finally Sorted?


“The national brake testing standard of 45 per cent g, or 4.4kN/t, was released as part of the National Heavy Vehicle Inspection Manual in 2016,” says Les Bruzsa, NHVR Chief Engineer. “The NHVR has worked closely with Roads and Maritime Services and the heavy vehicle industry to look at why some roller brake testing methods deliver differing results, when compared to other in-service brake testing methods.


“The working group has now developed the National roller brake testing procedure with machines used by state jurisdictions to be updated over the next 12 months. The working group has focused on identifying issues and delivering a robust procedure that will be effective for all vehicle types using current roller brake testing infrastructure.”


These new National roller brake test procedures will require software updates to roller brake test machines, with initial updates to occur over the next 12 months. An initial three-month start-up period including information, training and minor equipment changes for state jurisdictions is underway.


The NHVR has said heavy vehicle inspections will continue under the current arrangements until May 1 after which all tests will be performed using either the National roller brake testing procedure or the Alternative phase in procedure.


For roller brake testing machines operated by accredited third party examiners (commonly known as Authorised  Inspection Stations) machines will be updated as part of routine servicing over the next 12 months and the new national procedure adopted once the machine is updated.


“The NHVR Roller Brake Test Working Group has now developed the National roller brake testing procedure to align with the increased brake performance standard set in the National Heavy Vehicle Inspection Manual (NHVIM)” said Paul Caus, HeavyVehicle Industry Association Chief Technical Officer.


Trials of roller brake testing methods were conducted last August at Marulan Heavy Vehicle Testing Station, as a joint initiative coordinated by the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) and Heavy Vehicle Industry Australia (HVIA), New South Wales Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) and the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR).


Is Roller Brake Testing Finally Sorted?


“Utilising the extensive data obtained from the testing, has allowed detailed comparison of different roller brake testing methods,” said Caus. “Following the release of the National Roadworthiness Baseline Survey, it was clear that further work needed to be carried out on an appropriate and fair procedure, particularly for trailers.


“The testing enabled us to compare all sorts of different scenarios including trailers fitted with advanced braking systems, such as stability control and ABS. Importantly, we looked at the vehicles as they are typically presented at a roadside test station or mobile test unit. There was no special preparation of vehicles to try and get the best test results.


“The exercise has illustrated the value of industry groups working together with government by producing a procedure that is practical and robust, and meets the safety benchmarks set out in the National Heavy Vehicle Inspection Manual.”


Download the new procedure here.

The rollout of new roller brake testing explained 

Vehicle Standards Guide 21 National roller brake testing procedure