The Truck Industry Council has been campaigning for some time to change the rules around dirty old trucks. With the average age of trucks in Australia at over 14 years, and increasing, the truck manufacturer’s lobbying organisation and its President, Phil Taylor, Isuzu CEO, wants the government to disincentivise the owners of trucks sold before emission control rules came into existence.
“It’s about public health, isn’t it,” said Phil Taylor as part of a long interview with Diesel Magazine. “We have got tunnels in this country that are toxic. Someone has got to tell me why a 1996 truck, of which there are thousands out there, can still travel on toll roads, through tunnels or enjoy the other benefits, that a newer truck enjoys. Why do these much older trucks, which do belch black smoke, enjoy fuel tax credits. Why are we giving them that? Why aren’t we cleaning this country up?
“Why aren’t we reducing the level of carbon in the air. It’s killing the kids. I met with the Asthma Foundation a couple of years ago and they were right across the particulate matter and nitrogen oxides and how you are at more risk if you have an asthmatic child living close to freeway.
“The toll roads the fuel tax credits give them what someone with a newer truck would get. If we are serious about reducing the emissions and the CO2 levels, why should I, when driving through the tunnel in Sydney, see a sign to tell me to wind up my windows and put my aircon on recirculate before entering the tunnel.”
In 2017, the average age of the Australian truck fleet was 14.9 years, and with the national freight task continually expanding, this figure is set to rise. The TIC has long called on government for genuine support in helping operators upgrade their fleets to a more robust safety standard.
The TIC has also pointed out that 42 per cent of the nation’s truck fleet was manufactured before 2003 meaning that these trucks are missing many of the safety technologies that come as standard on a truck sold in 2017.
“I traveled to London a few years ago and we met with Transport for London and we spoke about their low emission zones,” said Taylor. “How they still pay billion euro fines every year because they can’t get emissions down to a lower level.
“We can do a lot for the environment. A lot of people don’t talk about the level of safety equipment which is fitted in trucks. We have lane departure warning, collision avoidance, SRS airbags, ABS, we have all this new technology. The thing which annoys me, is we have had ADR 80/03 since 2011 for trucks, but when were cars required comply with a similar level? Seven years later.
“If you speak to the person on the street, they do not think truck exhausts are cleaner than cars, but they are.”