The newly announced Vehicle Safety and Environmental Technology Update Plan (SETUP) has outlined five work packages to give Australia’s heavy vehicle industry certainty when installing new safety technology. As part of the initiative he National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) has released a blueprint to support manufacturers and operators to incorporate the latest safety technology into new and existing heavy vehicles.
The Plan is expected to help deliver commitment made as part of the National Road Safety Action Plan, including an increase in the deployment of Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), a better uptake of safer new and used vehicles and emerging vehicle technologies with high safety benefits and enable the introduction of safer, cleaner heavy freight vehicles by minimising regulatory barriers.
Based on consultation with a number of stakeholders, there are five work packages that will be progressed by the NHVR to increase/accelerate the uptake of vehicle safety and other technologies, with a focus on heavy freight vehicles.
One package will advocate for the increased harmonisation of Australian vehicle standards to allow for the latest designs from origin markets and the fitment of safety and environmental technology from those major market designs.
A second package will relax access and use limits for vehicles fitted with the latest environmental and vehicle safety technology.
The third will ensure in-service requirements maximise the benefits of mandated technology.
The fourth will empower industry to make informed purchasing decisions and the fifth is intended to educate industry about vehicle safety and environmental technology.
“Heavy vehicle manufacturers are designing technology, both here locally and overseas, to improve safety and get drivers home safely,” said Scott Buchholz, Assistant Minister for Road Safety and Freight Transport. “This technology is available and I want to clear the way to encourage the use of that technology and make sure there are no regulatory barriers when it comes to manufacturers identifying and installing new systems.
“For example, lane departure warning, autonomous emergency braking systems and pedestrian and cyclist detection systems are all available, so let’s see them on more new vehicles.”
The NHVR’s Vehicle SETUP Plan was developed following a survey of manufacturers in 2018, and is designed to meet the targets set out in the Federal Government’s National Road Safety Action Plan 2018-2020.
NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto said the plan would be delivered over five work packages, including better harmonisation of Australian vehicle standards, better access to the latest vehicle technologies, ensuring appropriate in-service requirements, and industry education about new and emerging technology.
“When we surveyed manufacturers, we saw that there was very little consistency when it comes to installing newer types of safety technology,” said Sal. “For example, stability control was included on 78 per cent of new vehicles, but fatigue monitoring systems were used on less than one in five, while lane keep assist featured on one in four new vehicles.”