Industry appeals save the crippling cost for rear marking plates retro-fit

HVIA has praised the NHVR’s decision to amend an order to replace current rear marker plates. Meeting the new Australian Standard have cost road transport operators well over $40 million.

HVIA had appealed to the NHVR to give a last-minute reprieve to operators who had been expected to retro-fit rear marking plates that met improved standards to all vehicles.

Chief Technical Officer Paul Caus took up the case advocating for a reversal of the decision.

“Current transition arrangements mandate that all vehicles were required to have their marking plates replaced before the 1st of January 2021, regardless of their condition,” Mr Caus said.

“That is a cost that the industry can ill-afford right now as we are dealing with a global pandemic.”

HVIA CEO Todd Hacking asked the NHVR to reverse the decision and replace it with a performance based standard – allowing existing Class 2 plates to be substituted as they need to be replaced.

It is a regulatory requirement under the Heavy Vehicle National Law, that marking plates be placed on the rear of all motor vehicles over 12 tonne GVM and trailers over 10 tonne GTM.

The plates are designed to both improve visibility, and can also provide the DO NOT OVERTAKE TURNING VEHICLE warning to other motorists.

“It is a sensible update to the Australian Standard,” Mr Hacking added.

“However, it is not so much about improved safety outcomes, but just aligning VSB12 with the advantages of current reflective technologies.

“The issue was brought to HVIA’s attention by Paul Gallagher at Borcat who was concerned by the cost impact it would have on their customers and the broader industry.

“We are extremely grateful to the NHVR for consideration the industry’s requests on this issue.”

The discontinuation of Class 2 plates came about following the 2016/17 review of the Australian Standard (AS4001).

The review determined that Class 400 (previously known as Class 1) and 1A plates were more durable, offered improved retroreflective performance, and could be smaller than Class 2 plates. The review also allowed for UN standard reflective materials to be used.

“Considering there are seven months remaining until the transition period ends, HVIA strongly recommends that new build vehicles have Class 400, 1A or UNECE 70 rear marking plates fitted from this point on,” Mr Hacking said.

“This will avoid an unnecessary expense to the operator down the track.”

A revised version of Vehicle Standards Bulletin 12 that provides for the updated approach to transition, and outlines the full requirements for Rear Marking Plates, will be published by the NHVR soon.

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