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Mandate truck, trailer stability control to save lives

10 August 2017

The Australian Government should require new trucks and trailers to be fitted with stability control technology and should do it fast.

The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) and the Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association (ALRTA) made the call today.

The Chair of the ATA, Geoff Crouch, said electronic stability control is a vehicle safety system that monitors the stability and sideways acceleration of a heavy vehicle, and kicks in to brake the vehicle if it detects a rollover starting.

“It’s a vital safety technology and should be mandatory for new trucks and trailers,” Mr Crouch said.

The President of the Livestock and Rural Transporters Association of South Australia, David Smith, said that mandatory stability control was in the best interests of the trucking industry, including rural operators.

“For us, adverse conditions are an everyday occurrence. Our gear cops an absolute pounding from rutted roads, stones and sticks along with the dust that gets into absolutely everything,” Mr Smith said.

“While running costs are always higher in these environments, there are still net benefits for operators who install the latest generation of stability control systems.

“Modern stability control systems can react far quicker than even the most experienced driver and most operators would be surprised to learn just how close they have come to a rollover,” he said.

The associations have put forward a package of technical recommendations to the Australian Government to ensure the technology will work across Australia’s harsh conditions.

“Notably, we consider that all new prime movers must be required to supply 24V to their trailers,” Mr Crouch said.

“There is no international standard for multivolt stability control plugs and sockets. For a stability control requirement to work, Australia has to standardise on one voltage. 24V is the way to go for performance reasons. It’s also needed to support evolving technologies like autonomous braking,” he said.

Mr Smith said converter dollies should be excluded from the mandatory stability control requirement, and that drivers should be able to turn off stability control at low speed.

“Considering the type of roads some trucks have to cover, an option to temporarily disable the system to deal with difficult situations at low speed is a must,” Mr Smith said.



1. Stability control must be mandatory for all new trucks and new trailer types except converter dollies.

2. Converter dollies must be exempt from the requirement to fit load sensing, ABS or stability control, similar to the current exemption in ADR38/04.

3. The requirement that converter dollies have ‘through’ wiring must be retained.

4. ADR35 and ADR38 must include a provision for an off-switch so that stability control can be temporarily disabled. Stability control should automatically re-engage at key on or at speeds above 40km/h.

5. All new trucks must be required to supply 24V to trailers. This should not be taken as preventing trucks from additionally supplying 12V or any other voltage.