Heavy Vehicle National Law review

The NTC has release the first of eight discussion papers designed to capture industry’s views on the changes required to the Heavy Vehicle National Law.

This first paper focuses on risk based regulation and analyses the problems with the existing Heavy Vehicle National Law.

The paper outlines six draft regulatory principles to guide the development of a new law. It says the future HVNL should:

  • be risk-based.
  • have a clear and balanced object, and provide the scope, coverage and visibility needed to manage the risks specific to Australian heavy vehicle operations.
  • be responsive, flexible and able to readily accommodate changes to technology and business models while maintaining the right degree of oversight.
  • recognise the diverse risk profile of the industry, operators and regulated parties and provide flexibility (in a harmonised manner) for those operating across vastly different domains and under different business models.
  • target the most significant risks associated with heavy vehicle operations. The new law should support sanctions and enforcement tools that reflect the severity of the risk, and enforcement decisions must be able to be reasonably challenged.
  • deliver better safety, productivity and regulatory efficiency outcomes and lead to continual improvement across these key performance areas.

While these principles are moving in the right direction they do not adequately embrace the safe systems methodology outlined in the National Road Safety Strategy according to HVIA’s National Policy Manager, Greg Forbes.

“There is still too much focus on sanctions and enforcement which are only useful after a problem has occurred. The law needs to focus on preventing the problems in the first place,” Greg said.

He says the new HVNL needs to actively encourage the uptake of newer vehicles and new technology and systems as the most effective mechanism for achieving improved safety and productivity.

“In particular, the combination of advanced advanced braking systems, vehicle monitoring and telematics implemented across the fleet has the potential to result in significant improvements in safety,” Greg added. 

“Incentivising operators to monitor the location, speed, configuration, performance and loading of a vehicle in real time and take responsibility to ensure they are operating within the law is a much better way to deal with road safety and asset protection that penalising people after the problems have occurred.

“Hopefully, Discussion Paper #4, on Safer Vehicles, will address these issues more completely.”

Download the discussion paper here.

What is your view on the discussion paper?

Please provide feedback to Greg Forbes: g.forbes@hvia.asn.au   

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