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.
“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).
“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.”