The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator is calling for changes with the aim of getting better truck access outcomes in its latest public submission. Assessing permits using consent parameters, rather than each individual vehicle should be the cornerstone to improving heavy vehicle access on Australian roads, according to an NHVR submission on access to the Heavy Vehicle National Law review (HVNL).
The recommendations from the NHVR are aimed at reducing the burden on road managers and operators by providing clear parameters for permit assessments.
“Our vision for access is a system that delivers safe, efficient and productive heavy vehicle movements supporting a strong and prosperous Australia,” said Sal Petroccitto, NHVR CEO. “Establishing consent parameters would be part of a framework that allows road managers to set limits for mass or dimension, or even no-go zones, where infrastructure cannot withstand certain heavy vehicle movements.
“Reducing permit numbers will allow the NHVR and road managers to provide greater focus for complex or unusual applications. Our access system should also better recognise newer and modern vehicles, including Performance Based Standards vehicles, which utilise the latest safety and performance technology.
“We can also reduce the burden on operators by considering a simplified heavy vehicle classification system, based on the performance of a vehicle within an agreed envelope. Over the past five years the NHVR has seen firsthand the challenges to access. We have the opportunity to reform the law to deliver great outcome for industry and road managers.”
The paper also calls for additional support for road managers to assess infrastructure, particularly where it causes a pinch points on an otherwise suitable heavy vehicle network. Inconsistent responses to access requests by road managers cause confusion and lost productivity across the trucking industry.
The NHVR submission highlights examples where restricting access to single trips ‘is a major cause of delays, administrative costs and commercial risk to operators’.
“A national risk assessment framework drives a shared responsibility by both road managers and industry – while road managers are required to know their infrastructure capabilities, transport operators will have a requirement of self-assessing their vehicle access on the network in line with this capability,” the report says.
The NHVR has outlined four components for a modern heavy vehicle access system as:
- Risk based access framework
- Dynamic national network maps
- Shared movement data
- Targeted infrastructure funding