A trucking health check is going to be taking place in the months of August and September on the roads of Australia. The National Roadworthiness Baseline Survey will see teams, trained by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator, running a series of roadside checks on the trucking fleet.
According to the NHVR, the National Baseline Survey will allow it to properly understand the health and roadworthiness of Australia’s 520,000-strong heavy vehicle fleet.
“This is the first time we have undertaken a National Baseline Survey,” said Sal Petroccitto, NHVR CEO at a briefing this week. “It’s about 9,000 vehicles we intend to survey, commencing August 1. It’ll give us a real opportunity to understand what the condition of the fleet is. NSW has done a similar exercise in the past, but we’re now going to extend this nationally.
“It will use the National Heavy Vehicle Inspection Manual, which we released last year and was adopted by all jurisdictions by July 1. We believe Western Australia will adopt the manual and we are working with the Northern Territory to see whether they will also adopt it. If we achieve the national adoption, it’s a strong reflection on the work we’ve been doing.
“Across the country, we’ll have inspectors undertaking roadside checks.There’s been some noise from some sections, saying we are going to be holding up the supply chain. I think that’s just rubbish, I think this is a really important initiative and if the supply chain can’t find 20 to 30 minutes to actually get an understanding of the condition of the fleet, we need to look at what we are doing as an industry.”
The roadside checks are expected to take up to 30 minutes and may extend out to 40 in a worst case scenario. Each vehicle will have a comprehensive visual inspection of the condition of the vehicle. The survey is the second leg of the development of the Roadworthiness program. The next stage will be for the NHVR to clarify what constitutes a major or minor defect and how they can be cleared.
“We have been working with our survey partners and they have been out there over the past few weeks explaining how to actually conduct the survey,” said Petroccitto. “This will give them the opportunity to fine tune any outstanding issues before we kick off. The feedback, to date, has been extremely positive and we’ve adopted some online functionality as well, making the survey quite easy to do. This means we can keep the industry flowing.”
In some cases there could be up to eight or nine crews out there from a jurisdiction. The NHVR have trained 50 officers and each jurisdiction has had a pilot. A preliminary inspection program has taken place to ensure the technology being used to record the data functions correctly and the teams know how to use it.
Although it is not the main reason for the survey, if safety critical defects are found by the inspectors, appropriate action will be taken.
“This survey will give us the first baseline,” said Petroccitto. “For us to roll out the Roadworthiness Program, we really need to understand the issues and how we might progress risk management and accreditation frameworks. We need this baseline survey. It’s never been done before.
“There might be some concerns out there, about the conditions of the fleet. I would rather know that so we can put improvement measures in place.”