On The Road

Welcome to On The Road, our fortnightly newsletter bringing you the latest from the heavy vehicle industry. It includes the latest NHVR news and events, relevant law and policy changes, and resources to help industry members comply with the HVNL. You can subscribe to receive On the Road via email.

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On this page you can read individual news articles from On The Road. Please visit our Newsletter archive if you want to see the actual newsletter that gets sent out.

Half tracked rubber tracked tractors now allowed on roads

Tractor

 

Farmers are now able to operate half tracked rubber tracked tractors on public roads without a permit following recent amendments to the National Class 1 Agricultural Vehicle and Combination Mass and Dimension Exemption Notice 2019.

The NHVR undertook engineering assessments and consultation on the infrastructure impacts of these vehicles, which showed they imposed no greater risk than the vehicles already allowed by the Notice.

Amendments to PBS Frontal Swing Requirements

PBS

Amendments to the PBS Frontal Swing standard will begin from today (April 1 2020).

NHVR’s Chief Engineer, Les Bruzsa said the increase will allow for greater flexibility for PBS vehicle designs.

“The rigid truck and prime mover performance measure of 0.7m has been found to be restrictive for twin-steer and longer wheelbase PBS vehicles, especially when fitted with bull bars,” Les said.

Temporary variations for Class 1 OSOM escort requirements in Queensland

OSOM

Temporary variations to Class 1 Oversize Over Mass (OSOM) escort requirements will commence in Queensland today (1 April 2020) while Queensland Police Service (QPS) resources are redirected to coronavirus activities. 

Operators of Class 1 OSOM loads that don’t exceed 5.5 metres in width and 35 metres in length may use the following temporary escorting arrangements from 1 April:

 

Existing arrangements

Enhanced route planning feature now available

Route Planner

Users of the Route Planner in the NHVR Portal can now translate a visual map into a text-based distance and time description of their route to help them plan and cost their trip.

The new tool will help operators determine the distance travelled against a single route and can be used to calculate fuel consumption costs. This will give operators a stronger understanding of the true costs associated with a given route.

The distance and time information can be found in the new dedicated 'DISTANCE' tab.

Supplementary record use extended to 30 days

Standard Work Diary

The NHVR has announced an extension to the time limit drivers may use a supplementary work diary record, as part of its ongoing efforts to assist industry through the coronavirus pandemic.

NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto said that from Wednesday April 1, drivers can use supplementary records for up to 30 driver business days, compared to the current seven day limit.

“Drivers who complete, lose or have their diary stolen or destroyed and can’t get an immediate replacement can use the Diary Daily Sheets for up to 30 days,” Sal said.

NHVR reducing burden on industry accreditation

Accreditation

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) has announced temporary changes to National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme (NHVAS) medical requirements and face-to-face audit requirements, in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. 

NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto said the regulator has listened to the industry and the common-sense changes would be implemented from Wednesday 25 March.

“We are making some practical changes that will help to take pressure off the health system and support operators and drivers in a time of unprecedented demand,” Sal said. 

Update on cross-border travel

Queensland Border

Western Australia, South Australia, Northern Territory, Queensland and Tasmania have border restrictions in place. There are currently no restrictions in place for travel between Victoria, NSW and the ACT.

Despite these restrictions, all freight movements are continuing. It’s business as usual.

However we ask that you keep abreast of information provided by State, Territory and Federal Government agencies.

Additional information is available at:

Cross border arrangements

Cross border arrangements

Several state governments have placed restrictions on cross-border movements this week as a control measure against the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

All governments are committed to ensuring the freight continues, with individual states issuing the below definitions of who is exempt from restrictions at their border:

Queensland

Report puts livestock supply chain safety in focus

Livestock supply chain

The NHVR is calling for feedback on future safety reforms across the livestock supply chain. 

NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto told last week’s Livestock, Bulk and Rural Carriers Association’s 2020 Conference in Tamworth that the review would target several key areas where Chain of Responsibility laws applied to the movement of sheep and cattle.

“We’ve identified a range of issues including loading practices, understanding of mass management and general understanding of regulatory responsibilities,” Sal said.

NHVR urges caution over spate of grape spills

Wine spills

The NHVR is warning drivers to be aware of spilled grapes on South Australian roads.

NHVR Manager Stakeholder Engagement John Gilbert said that it was critical that operators, vineyards, wineries and others involved in transporting grapes put in place robust safety systems to ensure a safe journey for everyone.

“We want to see these grapes made into great South Australian wine, not left to rot on our highways,” John said.

Fatigue Choices for work and rest hour flexibility

Fatigue Choices

Flexibility for drivers using work and rest hours is within reach for many heavy vehicle operators.

NHVR Fatigue Specialist Andreas Blahous said a new Fatigue Choice customer program would assist operators to ensure their business is making the most of existing fatigue laws.

“Applying for AFM does not have to be a difficult process, but does require a commitment by the business and staff to some additional safety measures,” Andreas said.

Survey seeks insight into industry’s safety management

Safety Survey

The NHVR is conducting its latest survey into how the heavy vehicle industry and supply chain is tackling their safety responsibilities.

NHVR Safety Assurance Director Greg Fill said the online safety survey would assist the NHVR to decide how best to develop future safety information.

“With the introduction of safety duties provisions in October 2018, we want to understand how these changes have impacted everyday safety practices.

“We want to hear from everyone across the industry and supply chain about what they do to manage safety. 

Digital products and data platforms are modernising heavy vehicle safety and productivity

Technology modernising heavy vehicle safety

Technology is allowing the NHVR to modernise the way heavy vehicle safety and productivity services are delivered.

Using the mixture of data and digital platforms, the NHVR is continuing to explore new ways to make it easier to do business for one of the most important industries in Australia.

The most recent leap forward came when the NHVR started integrating heavy vehicle data and information into a secure national database known as the Safety and Compliance Regulatory Platform.

NHVR commences first prosecution under new Chain of Responsibility laws

prosecutions

The NHVR has commenced its first prosecution under new Chain of Responsibility laws, laying charges against a company director for failing to exercise due diligence to ensure the company complied with its safety duty.

NHVR Executive Director Statutory Compliance Ray Hassall said that NHVR Investigators conducted a safety duties investigation into a Victorian trucking company in relation to fatigue management of its drivers.

“We believe the company failed to comply with conditions of its fatigue management accreditation,” Ray said.

Last chance to get in your heavy vehicle safety ideas

Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative

The NHVR is reminding groups to submit their funding applications for Round 5 of the Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative (HVSI) before the Friday 21 February deadline.

NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto said the Federal Government had provided $5.48 million in 2020-21 for projects that improve heavy vehicle safety, under round five of the program.

“This is the last week to get in your applications for the HVSI – our program which targets projects that can deliver real safety benefits for the heavy vehicle industry and all road users,” Sal said.

Fatigue technology found to deliver safety benefits

Fatigue technology

Truck and bus companies have supported the use of Fatigue and Distraction Detection Technology to improve safety outcomes by helping prevent accidents before they occur, rather than looking in the rear vision mirror after the fact.

This finding comes from an NHVR-commissioned study (as part of a five stage safety initiative) and was undertaken by independent consultants from HGH Consulting and CQ University, including internationally acclaimed sleep scientist, Professor Drew Dawson.

NHVR officers lending hand to fire-impacted communities

NHVR officers escorting hay deliveries along damaged roads

NHVR staff across Victoria and South Australia have been doing their part for the bushfire relief effort with officers assisting to get hay to isolated, bushfire-effected areas.

Director Southern Region (Operations) Paul Simionato said that staff in Victoria and South Australia had stepped up to help out wherever they could.

“The NHVR was approached by the Victoria Police to assist with road traffic management, escort activities and traffic control,” Mr Simionato said. 

Heavy vehicle industry reviews should align for better outcome

Heavy Vehicle National Law

The NHVR is calling for two major reviews to be considered together, avoiding duplication and delivering better safety and productivity outcomes for the industry. 

The call was made as part of the NHVR’s response to the Productivity Commission’s draft paper on National Transport Regulatory Reform.

NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto's response called for the Productivity Commission’s findings to be included as part of the ongoing National Transport Commission (NTC) Review into the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL). 

Female truck drivers say enough is enough to road toll

WiTA Launch 2020

Fed up with the number of preventable crashes on Australian roads, including 1,188 road fatalities in 2019, female truck drivers are speaking out in a new campaign which aims to reduce risky behaviour.

NHVR Director Southern Region Paul Simionato said that Women in Trucking Australia Ltd (WiTA) - established by female heavy vehicle drivers to encourage and support more women into driving careers – was one of 24 organisations that received funding through the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator’s Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative (HVSI), supported by the Federal Government.

Body worn cameras to be rolled out to NHVR officers

Body Worn Cameras

Body worn cameras (BWCs) have been issued to all NHVR Safety and Compliance Officers (SCOs) following a recent trial in South Australia and Tasmania.

The BWC is a portable camera worn by NHVR officers to capture audio and video recordings of interactions between officers and those involved in heavy vehicle transport activities.

It also provides a number of important safety benefits by encouraging safe and mutually respectful interactions.

Minor regulation amendments for bus and road train mass

Road train

Some minor regulation changes for three-axle bus mass limits and steer axle mass limits for road trains will begin today.

Three-axle bus limits will increase from 20 tonnes to 22 tonne, reflecting increasing average weight of passengers. Previously buses were able to operate in some states at 22 tonne under permit.

The steer axle limit for road trains will increase from 6.7 tonnes to 7.1 tonnes (for tyre widths of at least 375mm). This reflects the increases in modern road trains’ tare weight.