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New truck brake standards to save lives

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15 August 2013

The Australian Government’s decision to mandate Anti-lock Braking Systems (ABS) for all new trucks will save lives on our roads, the Chief Executive of the Australian Trucking Association, Stuart St Clair, said today.

The Minister for Road Safety, Sharon Bird, issued the new design rule, ADR35/04, before the start of the caretaker period and announced it today. The rule will take effect from 1 July 2014 for all new model trucks and 1 January 2015 for all new trucks.

Mr St Clair said the requirement for ABS brakes could help truck drivers maintain control when they had to brake hard, especially on wet roads.

“I’ve spent a lot of time behind the wheel of a truck. It’s important to drive conservatively and not rely on the technology, but it’s a great comfort knowing the ABS will kick in if it’s needed, such as if a car cuts in front of the truck on a wet road.”

He said that many of the trucks on Australia’s roads were already fitted with this life saving technology.

“The design rules already require the prime movers that pull B-doubles to be fitted with ABS,” he said.

Mr St Clair said the incoming government, whether Labor or Coalition, would need to press ahead with rolling out a similar design rule for heavy vehicle trailers.

“The ATA wants to see a similar design rule imposed on trailers, which should be implemented on the same schedule as the new rule for trucks,” he said.

“Our advice from operators and braking experts is that ABS on trailers can be effective and reliable in all Australian conditions with basic maintenance.

“The only exemptions should be:

  • very heavy trailers that already meet the relevant brake performance standards because of their weight
  • the special purpose trailers used to carry large indivisible loads under over-size over-mass permits. The technology cannot yet deal with more than four axles in a single group or with axle groups where rows of eight tyres are involved. These specialised trailers are used under very restricted conditions in any case, often with escort and pilot vehicles
  • a one-off, per-vehicle exemption available for operators with unusual needs or who operate in very harsh conditions.

Mr St Clair said the ATA would continue promoting the next generation of braking, Electronic Braking Systems (EBS), through its technical advisory material.

EBS or brake-by-wire technology integrates ABS technology, automatic traction control and other key vehicle control systems,” he said.

“Our EBS Technical Advisory Procedure provides truck operators with authoritative, independent technical information about these systems,” he said.

The EBS Technical Advisory Procedure is available at: