Here is Melinda Pavey laying out the road safety agenda for New South Wales in the next few years. Her job title is quite a long one, NSW Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight. In fact, as she introduces herself and gives us her title, this is the only time she mentions ‘freight’.
There’s minimal mention of trucks and trucking, even though in the past few weeks it has been trucking which was the big baddie and said to be the cause of the increase in accidents on the roads in the state. If trucking is such a problem, they need a major blitz on all truckies, wouldn’t you include more in your road safety plan?
This is not to try and make little of the importance of the spike in fatalities. There is a problem, the numbers have risen in NSW and something needs to be done. The Minister is right, there is much to be done on country roads and all of the ideas mentioned are admirable. Better pedestrian infrastructure and lower speeds is going to work well in reducing issues in urban areas.
She gets it right when talking about educating and protecting road-users. On this we can all agree. Heavy vehicles do get a small mention in a long list of the communities the government want to engage on safety.
Improved vehicle safety technology is a given, it has been ramping up in recent years, and selling well. Improved road design would also be a boon. So often roads are designed to do a job and meet a budget without getting the best results.
The final comment is telling, ‘Every road user in NSW has to play their part’. Let’s emphasise the word ‘every’ again. This is not just a trucking issue or a car issue, or any other single issue. There are ratbags in every section of road users. Let’s see if the kind of close attention the trucking industry has got in the last few weeks is given to these other segments of the road using population.
It’s all happening in the trucking industry this week, there’s the West Gate Tunnel, Tax Fight, Bulk Tippers and Aldi, all getting a run in Diesel News.
A requirement for the operator of the proposed West Gate Tunnel to offer financial incentives and discounts for freight operators that use the new connection is expected to encourage heavy vehicles to use the road, creating productivity improvements for operators and amenity gains for residents of Melbourne’s inner west.
Luke Donnellan, Victorian Roads Minister, announced the Victorian Government will provide further incentives for the transport and logistics industry to use the West Gate Tunnel when the road is built, in the form of discounted shuttle rates, caps on maximum daily tolls for trucks making multiple trips through the tunnel, and night-time discounts.
“We are pleased that the Victorian Government has listened to the Victorian Trucking Association’s consistent calls for heavy vehicle operators to be incentivised to use toll roads like the West Gate Tunnel,” said Peter Anderson, VTA CEO. “The transport industry has been hit with substantial increases to tolls and infrastructure costs at the Port of Melbourne this year, so it is encouraging that steps are being taken by the Government to ensure heavy-vehicle operators are not penalised for using toll roads.”
Road Freight NSW (RFNSW) has joined forces with its interstate counterpart the Western Australian Road Transport Association (WARTA) in a renewed fight against extra surcharges imposed by stevedores at ports across the country.
RFNSW General Manager Simon O’Hara met with WARTA Executive Officer Cam Dumesny while observing freight movements in and out of the Port Botany terminals and getting feedback from carriers about the impact the new levies were having on their day-to-day operations.
“In New South Wales and Western Australia, truck operators, particularly those smaller, family-run businesses, are hurting,” said Simon O’Hara, RFNSW General Manager. “RFNSW and WARTA have now decided to use our collective strength in bringing the stevedores to account, for the sake of our members. Again, we make the point that at ports across the country, stevedores have imposed these taxes on hardworking truck operators without any regulatory scrutiny.
In New South Wales, Roads and Maritime Services has released the NSW Grain Harvest Management Scheme (GHMS) Report for the harvest period, July 2015 to June 2016, including data received from 18 of the 21 participating grain receivers.
Eighty per cent (9,578,057 tonnes) of the grain deliveries for the period were delivered using the GHMS concession, and 186,906 vehicle trips used the GHMS concession. Six-axle prime mover/semi-trailer combinations moved almost 39 per cent of the total grain transport task
The most grain transported over this period was wheat, accounting for 65 per cent of all deliveries, 4.1 per cent of all deliveries were recorded as being over on mass and 4.3 per cent of GHMS deliveries were above GHMS mass limits.
The Transport Workers Union (TWU) reckons over 500 truck drivers and their supporters protested at an Aldi supermarket in Mt Druitt, Sydney, protesting about the retailer’s refusal to ensure safety in its transport supply chain.
“Aldi cannot silence drivers,” said driver Mark Trevillian, said in a TWU statement. “We are on the road every day and we see the pressure transport workers are under. We want Aldi to be part of the solution and get on board to stop the carnage.”
Roads ACT has handed back the processing of Class 1 heavy vehicle permit applications for the Australian Capital Territory to the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR). The NHVR will process all heavy vehicle permit applications that were previously processed by Roads ACT for travel in the Australian Capital Territory.
Among the topics in the news this week from Diesel News are ESC, PBS, Linfox, Truck Classes and Roller Brake Testing.
The Australian Government should require new trucks and trailers to be fitted with stability control technology and should do it fast, according to the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) and the Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association (ALRTA).
Geoff Crouch, ATA Chair, said electronic stability control is a vehicle safety system that monitors the stability and sideways acceleration of a heavy vehicle, and kicks in to brake the vehicle if it detects a rollover starting.
“It’s a vital safety technology and should be mandatory for new trucks and trailers,” said Crouch.
The President of the Livestock and Rural Transporters Association of South Australia, David Smith, said that mandatory stability control was in the best interests of the trucking industry, including rural operators.
“For us, adverse conditions are an everyday occurrence. Our gear cops an absolute pounding from rutted roads, stones and sticks along with the dust that gets into absolutely everything,” said Smith. “While running costs are always higher in these environments, there are still net benefits for operators who install the latest generation of stability control systems.
A evaluation of the Performance Based Standards(PBS) scheme is being carried out by the National Transport Commission (NTC). It is expected to look at ways to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the PBS scheme, and in doing so respond to Australia’s growing freight task.
Findings outlined in Assessing the effectiveness of the PBS Scheme show PBS vehicles:
were involved in 46 per cent fewer major crashes;
had a reduction of 440 million kilometres in truck travel and saved at least four lives in 2014-2016;
delivered 24.8 per cent productivity gains across all commodities;
delivered a 6.2 per cent gross tonne-kilometre saving for 2016;
saved about $65 million in road maintenance expenses; and
saved 94 million litres of fuel in 2016 and reduced CO2 emissions by 250,000 tonnes.
“Road freight is projected to increase by 26 per cent in the next 10 years. PBS vehicles are well placed to assist industry and government in coping with this forecasted growth,” said Paul Retter, NTC CEO. “Since 2007 when the world-first scheme started, PBS vehicles have been involved in fewer crashes, carried more freight with fewer trips, generated lower emissions and reduced road maintenance expenditure. We need to continue improving the scheme to promote greater uptake of these vehicles.”
Linfox and Pacific National
Linfox has entered into a consortium with Pacific National to purchase the containerised freight haulage and end-to-end freight forwarding capability on Queensland’s northern freight line. Forming a consortium with Pacific National is the first step towards purchasing these assets that are currently owned by Aurizon Queensland Intermodal.
Pacific National will be working with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to gain clearance for the acquisition of other assets of Aurizon Queensland Intermodal. Linfox has said it will support this process.
If the Pacific National transaction is cleared by the ACCC, Linfox will acquire and use the rail haulage capacity supplied by Pacific National to supply intra-state and interstate freight forwarding services to customers in Queensland and Northern Queensland.
Truck Classes Chart
The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) has released a Classes of Heavy Vehicle chart to assist operators to match common heavy vehicles with the three categories used under the law.
“While the NHVR and operators use common terms such as B-doubles, low loaders or mobile cranes for Restricted Access Vehicles, they are classified into classes under the HVNL,” said Roger Garcia. “For example, pick and carry cranes commonly fall under the Class 1 heavy vehicle category, and this can be easily determined from our new easy-to-read chart.”
The new chart illustrates other common examples from the three different classes of heavy vehicles, such as oversize, over-mass vehicles, special purpose vehicles, agricultural vehicles and vehicles under the Performance Based Standards (PBS) scheme.
Roller Brake Testing
Trials of roller brake testing methods were conducted at Marulan Heavy Vehicle Testing Station ahead of next month’s end of transition arrangements in New South Wales. Coordinated by the Australian Trucking Association (ATA), the joint initiative involved Heavy Vehicle Industry Australia (HVIA), New South Wales Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) and the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR).
The testing will allow further comparison of different roller brake testing methods and will inform the development of national requirements to align with the increased brake performance standard set in the National Heavy Vehicle Inspection Manual (NHVIM).
The latest version of the manual reflects a correction to the brake performance standard in line with Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) achieved through ATA and industry representation.
New CoR Forums
The second phase of the NHVR’s Chain of Responsibility (CoR) education program will kick off in October with 26 forums across Australia. NHVR Chain of Responsibility Manager Michael Crellin said the forums would build on the awareness sessions for industry conducted earlier this year.
“This is a four-phase process to support the changes to CoR coming in mid 2018,” said Crellin. “We had great engagement during the first phase. We’ve worked our way through the feedback and are currently developing materials to provide practical help for industry.
“The materials will provide users with information to identify risks relevant to their operations and install systems that meet the requirements of the law and improve safety.”
The last week in trucking has seen Brake Testing, B-Triples, Fatigue, Bridges and the Return of the Self Clearing Defect make an appearance.
The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) has reintroduced the self-clearing defect notice for heavy-vehicle defects that do not pose a safety risk.
“This category will allow minor non-safety-related defects to be rectified by the operator, including where a vehicle’s number plate is obscured or illegible,” said Sal Petroccitto, NHVR CEO. “A self-clearing defect notice means the operator does not have to present the vehicle to an approved person to clear the notice.
“I believe this new defect notice will improve roadside compliance and reduce the compliance burden for industry. Where a record of the self-clearing defect notice is available it can be checked by authorised officers the next time the vehicle is intercepted.”
Roller Brake Testing
The NHVR has also agreed to extend the current roller-brake testing transition period in New South Wales from 30 June 30, 2017 until 29 September, 2017. This transition period allows heavy vehicles that achieve a brake test result greater than 3kN/t, but less than 4.4kN/t to be given an official warning on first-time detection.
A consistent brake testing regime across all jurisdictions covered by the NHVR is expected to be in place before this extended deadline is reached in September.
B-Triples in Rocky
In excess of 500,000 cattle annually go to the Rockhampton abattoirs, located in North Rockhampton. A review of central Queensland cattle freight operations by Transport and Main Roads (TMR) Queensland identified that the most prevalent transport configuration used by industry to access Rockhampton abattoirs was the Type 1 road train. Currently, the combinations have to be broken up outside of Rockhampton and delivered individually.
The new proposal is to allow Type 1 road trains, including B-triples, access to Rockhampton abattoirs under restricted permitting conditions overnight, between 7.00pm and 7.00am. The trucks will be required to travel a designated heavy-vehicle route through Rockhampton.
The Cooperative Research Centre for Alertness, Safety and Productivity (Alertness CRC), with the National Transport Commission (NTC), is conducting field research to analyse the impacts of the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) on work and rest hours on heavy-vehicle driver fatigue. The research will measure sleeping patterns, driver drowsiness and driving performance both on the road during real-world work shifts and off the road in a laboratory/controlled-track setting.
With the development of improved alertness monitoring devices, the researchers now have the capability to undertake research to objectively measure drivers’ alertness across a work schedule, to monitor driving impairment indicators, and to measure the quality and quantity of drivers’ sleep during minimum rest periods, so enabling us to provide quality data and evidenced guidance in support of any future reforms.
Phase 1 is an on-road field trial that will assess drivers’ alertness levels, sleep, and driving impairments in naturalistic/real-life driving conditions. Phase 2 will include a controlled study in a laboratory and on a closed-loop test track that will evaluate how simulated shift patterns, and other features of heavy vehicle work schedules allowed under the HVNL (e.g. placement of sleep and work periods), impact drivers’ alertness levels and driving performance.
Old timber bridges in NSW are likely to be replaced faster with the latest development in the NSW Governments Country Bridge Solutions program. The innovative Country Bridge Solutions program aims to fast-track the replacement of old council owned timber bridge structures in NSW using standard modular bridge design.
RMS constructed the first trial bridge at Bookookoorara Creek for Tenterfield Shire Council to test the design and constructability elements. Construction of the three-span, 30-metre, pre-cast, pre-stressed concrete bridge was completed in June 2016.
VTA On The Move
The Victorian Transport Association (VTA) has announced it is relocating to modern, new office space at Webb Dock. The VTA and the Victorian Waste Management Association (VWMA), will be located at Level 1, MIRRAT House, 46 Kooringa Way, Webb Dock.
“After almost 20 years at Fishermans Bend, the opportunity arose to relocate to new premises with modern features and amenity that is much better-suited to our staff and membership,” said VTA CEO, Peter Anderson. “The new office features training rooms and facilities that are better-equipped for the types of programs we are offering, and cater to various sizes and configurations in line with the growing number of participants we are experiencing.”
A news story this week about trucking operators dropping trailers in Wagga is one which could be repeated all over the country. The drastic lack of decent and safe facilities where trailers can be left during changeovers is a national problem, illustrated here in a major transport hub.
The story in Wagga’s Daily Advertiser this week tells of local demands in the city for a specialist truck parking bay after locals raised serious safety concerns. According to the story there are no truck parking bays in the city, now trailers are being left in various areas, many in unsuitable locations.
“We need a truck service centre, where trailers can be left and swapped, because it’s already happening on Hammond Avenue, Pearson Street and Copland Street,” Wagga Councillor Alan Brown is quoted as saying.
“The Caltex service station at Gumly Gumly is not adequate and there’s already been a fatal accident there because of trucks parked on the side of the road. We’re a major city on a major highway, it doesn’t make sense that Tarcutta has a better truck stop than Wagga.”
The New South Wales Roads and Maritime Services is currently assessing a plan for a bypass of the city. Councillors and trucking operators are urging for the plan to include an effective parking area where trailer swaps could take place in safety.
The Daily Adveriser also talked to Leeton Bulk Freight Transport Director Royce Teerman who told the newspaper truck drivers were taking their lives into their own hands decoupling trailers on Wagga roads.
“When the truck driver winds down the set of legs on the trailer, there’s 17 tonnes pressing down on the road, and on a hot day the trailer legs will go straight through the bitumen,” said Teerman. “It’s happened to me four times. What happens if someone’s walking past or the driver’s walked down the side of the trailer to get to his toolbox?
“That may only be a one in 100 event, but it’s bound to happen. We’d like to see a spare block somewhere in Wagga where drivers can have a rest and safely swap trailers.”
From July 1, the National Heavy Vehicle Inspection Manual (NHVIM) Version 2.1 will be the national standard for heavy vehicle inspections in all participating jurisdictions. For many this will mean some minor adjustments to procedures to ensure trucks comply.
For those using their own brake roller testers in New South Wales, this means quite a change. Both the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator and the Roads and Maritime Services in NSW have put out fact sheets to ensure everyone in the industry is up to speed with the changes.
The factsheet issued by the RMS is called, ‘Modification of Roller Brake testing equipment required to meet new safety standards.’ According to the RMS it has implemented the NHVIM as of June 11.
This means trucks in NSW will be required to comply with amended brake force requirements mandated by the NHVR. The new standard can be found in Section 2.13 of the NHVIM and raises the pass criteria for brakes as follows:
As per Schedule 2 of the Heavy Vehicle (Vehicle Standards) National Regulation (NSW), and the NHVIM, the following minimum brake performance requirements apply:
Deceleration: 2.8 m/s/s average and 4.4 m/s/s peak
Brake force: 3.0 kN/t GVM average and 4.5 kN/t GVM peak
RMS says to comply with the NHVIM, roller brake testing equipment used for inspections of heavy vehicles must be set to meet the new minimum requirements by June 11.
It is another of those unseen problems which keep on creeping up on us. This time it is a change in brake testing rules, which no-one is ready for. Changes to the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator roller brake testing rules will be coming on June 11 and the consequences are far from clear.
What we have is a situation which keeps on popping up with alarming regularity. A rule change which is being used by one part of the way the trucking industry is regulated to cause mischief. Using non-communication in advance of a rule change to cause havoc in the industry, to advance a self serving point of view.
This time it looks like the state authorities, who are sitting on their hands, are going to start failing trucks brought in for a roadworthy because their brakes do not meet a national standard being brought in. If there is a situation where trucks tested back at the workshop as passing braking tests are then failed at the state testing stations, the blame will go straight to the door of the NHVR, who are enforcing the change.
The problem comes from the wording of the new National Heavy Vehicle Inspection Manual, due to come into force in June. The book states, when using a roller brake tester, brake efficiency required on a service brake will now be a minimum of 45 per cent, as opposed to the 30 per cent used as a standard by states, more particularly NSW, in the past.
If there was no antipathy between the state authorities and the new NHVR then, I suspect, there would be no issue. Operators would be informed of the rule change, by their local inspectors in the lead up to the change. Those trucks failing braking tests in the first couple of months would be given warning but not treated too harshly.
As a result, the trucking industry would change its practices and re-calibrate roller testing results and we would all see safe vehicles on the road and passing road worthy tests without problem. Unfortunately, that doesn’t look as though it’s going to happen.
Instead, we have had no communication whatsoever. All of a sudden, on June 11, a workshop will have tested a truck fully in its own workshop, reckoned it will pass with flying colours, and taken it down to the testing station. This is when the proverbial will hit the fan, a truck adjusted to the previous level of braking efficiency, might pass the new regulations, but many will not.
The most likely scenario is going to be the central axle in a triaxle set is going to be considered as outside the parameters and failed, with all of the consequences this brings with it. An unladen middle axle has the least mass pushing down on a testing set-up, especially on air suspended trailers, increasing the chance of failing a brake efficiency test. The workshop manager and operator will be dumbfounded, they know they have done the right thing but are now in a situation where they have a truck in breach and will have to re-test.
At this point it will be very easy for the local testing station to explain the problem is not their fault, but is as a result of new rule changes sent down from on high by the NHVR. Nothing to do with them. This is starting to look a lot like the debacle which occurred when the NHVR first took over issuing permits. Yet again, the states will be shipping blame to the national authority for a problem which they themselves have been a party in creating.
The operator will be stuck with a non-compliant truck and a loss of faith in their own roller tester. Trucks which were compliant last week are no longer compliant this week. Everyone gets annoyed, the vehicles have to get retested and the states get a sly punch in on the national regulator.
What’s the solution? Communicate. Tell all and sundry about the rule changes now. Get everyone up to speed on what will be required of them (in essence, it’s simply bringing workshop practices up to the level practiced in Queensland for the past few years). Stop the in-fighting between agencies creating problems for honest operators who will lose valuable uptime due to bureaucratic bickering.
Happy New Year to all our readers from dieselnews.com.au. Let’s hope it’s a good one and a number of promising developments from 2015 come to fruition. Over the last five years, a lot of promises were made, which didn’t come off. Now, the promises are a bit more believable, and seem to come with realistic deadlines.
If there is one week of the year when we can allow ourselves to be hopeful and positive, it is the first week of a fresh year. It is also a week in which it is very unlikely any major setback for the trucking industry will rear its ugly head. This is mainly because all of the politicians and bureaucrats are going to be at the beach until Australia Day.
Last year ended with some genuine positives. The proposed changes to chain of responsibility legislation look like they will benefit trucking. The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator seems to be cementing its position as the go-to place for regulation of the industry.
Of course, there were a couple of items to darken this rosy outlook. One was the last minute publication, just before Christmas, of the latest Road Safety Remuneration Order. (Of which there is more here.)
The other is just a small snippet of news, which provides us with a wonderful illustration of just what we are up against. Apparently, a number of rural operators in New South Wales have fallen foul of a tricky interpretation of the ‘90 day rule’ by our old friends the Roads and Maritime Services.
If a trailer is registered outside of NSW, by a NSW operator, it has to spend at least 48 hours outside of the state in any 90 day period. ‘Too easy’, you say, if you run an interstate operation, the trailer is bound to spend those hours outside the state.
‘Not so fast’, says the pernickety RMS officer. They have found trailers which work on shuttle runs, constantly running in and out of NSW. However, because of the nature of the work the trailers were found to not spend a ‘continuous’ period of 48 hours interstate.
So far, it is unclear whether this interpretation of the rules will be followed through, but at the moment the operators are being told they are in breach of the rules. Visions of a trailer park, in Wodonga or Goondiwindi perhaps, given over to giving trailers a two day break every three months to keep the RMS at bay.
This is just a small example, effecting just a few operators, but we could be told a similar tale in just about every industry segment. Unthinking imposition of ridiculous rules seems to be a speciality of those dealing with the trucking industry. However, it’s not just enforcement who are at fault. The big customers, the supermarket chains for example, are also guilty on this count.
The debacle around the relocation of Melbourne Markets, over access and accreditation is another example of the small unthinking rule making we have to deal with day-to-day.
That’s enough negativity, it is a new year after all. Let’s all work to make sure this year, 2016, sees a decrease in the petty issues sent to try the trucking industry, and an increase in rationality and good old fashioned common sense.