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A risk-based approach to regulating heavy vehicles

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31 May 2019

The Heavy Vehicle National Law must be substantially redrafted, the ATA’s submission in response to the first issues paper of the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) review says.

The issues paper, A risk-based approach to regulating heavy vehicles, seeks views on ways to make the law more risk based and less prescriptive.

The submission says the ATA’s vision for the new HVNL is a law that has:

  • primary safety duties and executive officer due diligence obligations for all regulated parties
  • simplified and more flexible prescriptive rules, particularly on fatigue
  • a separate, voluntary, safety-based system for operators that need even more flexibility. Operators in this system would need to be accredited under an approved accreditation scheme. Operators in any approved accreditation scheme would be entitled to appropriate concessions from the prescriptive rules.
  • a new approach to enforcement. There is a perceived lack of action by road agencies and the regulator on serious breaches of the law, including by off-road parties. There is too much focus on work diary errors and low risks that cannot be controlled
  • a more streamlined and integrated approach to truck access and productivity to deliver the productivity gains the industry and customers need.

The current HVNL would need to be substantially redrafted to deliver this vision, although some key elements – most notably chapter 1A of the current law – would be retained.

The submission also puts forward changes to the law that would bring the NHVR’s corporate governance, oversight and accountability arrangements into line with other safety regulators.

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