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Heavy vehicle roadworthiness review submission

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26 September 2014

Australia’s transport ministers should wind down the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme (NHVAS) in its current form, the ATA said in its submission to the joint NTC/NHVR heavy vehicle roadworthiness review.

The review is looking at possible reforms to the government-run scheme. The ATA called for the review after the Mona Vale Road accident last year.

“The NHVR has not published guidelines for the registration of industry codes of practice,” the ATA submission said.

“This is just as well. The NHVAS would fail to meet any credible set of standards. If it was not a government scheme run by the NHVR, it would be shut down,” it said.

The submission pointed out that operators in NHVAS Maintenance in NSW recorded a worse level of major defects in 2009 than operators that were not in any accreditation scheme.

It said the regulator should not continue seeking to crowd out marketing offerings such as the ATA’s TruckSafe safety management system by delivering a competing accreditation scheme.


Extending chain of responsibility to vehicle standards and safety

The submission recommended that ministers should extend the chain of responsibility concept to vehicle standards and safety.

“A new duty should be included in chapter 3 of the Heavy Vehicle National Law, to require chain parties to take reasonable steps to ensure that vehicles are free of defects, safe and maintained in a roadworthy condition. Vehicle maintenance service providers should be included as chain parties,” the submission said.

It recommended that the maximum penalty for breaching the duty should be $10,000 for an individual and $50,000 for a corporation.


Fixing vehicle defect notices

The submission said that most trucking operators had experienced problems with defect notices. It warned that some enforcement officers had poor mechanical understanding, which resulted in incorrect defect notices being issued with little recourse for the operator.

It said that the states participating in the HVNL should agree on a formal process for issuing, clearing and withdrawing defect notices. It said that defect notices should display sufficient detail for a person to be able to note the rule being applied and the physical location of the alleged problem.