One of the contentious issues for the operators of Performance Based Standards trucks has been tyre choice. As a result, the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator is looking for a rubber solution and is appointing independent road safety expert, Dr John de Pont, to lead a review of PBS tyre standards and operations.
Often, when the design process of designing a PBS goes through its computer simulation phase, it will meet the criteria required with only specific tyres. Later, when the truck is running and it comes time to replace these tyres, the operator may not be able to access the tyre as specified and might be in breach of standards.
The problem is further complicated by the lack of a single tyre performance standard which is publicly available. Some tyre specifications are freely available, others aren’t and operators can’t be sure of being able to acquire a comparable tyre which will match the originals in performance.
The topic has provoked fierce arguments in public forums in the past and it would seem the NHVR have been unable to resolve the issue to every one’s satisfaction. The appointment of an independent expert to conduct the review will bring an outsiders eye to the issue.
John is part of TERNZ, which is a New Zealand-based independent research organisation specialising in transport-related issues. In its homeland it is known for providing high quality, unbiased, independent information and analyses, to both the government and the private sector.
“Almost one-in-five new heavy vehicles built in Australia this year will be approved under the PBS scheme,” said Sal Petroccitto, NHVR CEO. “We are committed to a wider review of PBS standards and rules, to ensure PBS remains a world-leading program for innovation and safety design, however a review of tyre standards is a priority.
“We will look at the available testing methods utilised by tyre manufacturers and suppliers, considering that these methods can produce differing results.”
The review will also look at the effects of tyre characteristics on safety performance, key tyre performance parameters, the performance of truck tyres currently available in Australia and the effects of tyre designs, tread patterns, case types, sizes, materials and operating conditions.
A report into Australia’s PBS fleet released in May showed there were 16,000 separate PBS registered trucks, trailers and buses, making up 7500 PBS combinations currently operating.
John will provide a report for the NHVR’s Technical Working Group, which is made up of NHVR and industry experts in early 2019.