HVIA Puts Tag Trailer Mass Back On The Reform Agenda

HVIA is hopeful long-standing issues related to tag trailer mass will be resolved over the coming year

Chief Technical Officer Adam Ritzinger says the rules concerning the maximum mass of tag trailers has historically varied between jurisdictions.

Prior to the introduction of the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) in 2014, some states imposed a mass limit on tag trailers, while others classified them as semi-trailers and did not impose any specific mass limit at all, other than axle mass limits.

In late 2018, the HVNL was updated to formally define tag trailers and limit their mass to no more than the mass of their towing vehicle.

This change was made without industry consultation, did not include a transition period, and to HVIA’s knowledge was not supported by any safety case or history of prior incidents.

The negative effects on the industry were immediate and included considerable operational limitations for operators carrying indivisible loads such as mobile plant, and the trailer manufacturers that supplied those operators.

At the time, HVIA canvassed the issue with members and in 2019 put forward a proposal to regulatory bodies including the NTC and the NHVR.

The NHVR conducted its own technical investigation and was supportive of changes and began working with the NTC to amend the regulations.

Unfortunately, those changes stalled in 2020 due to a wider and broader review of the entire HVNL that the NTC was undertaking at the time.

As work on the HVNL is now coming to a close, the issue is back on the reform agenda with the NTC, supported by the NHVR.

HVIA is aiming for the remaining technical queries to be resolved by the end of this year, with the changes included in the regulations to be approved in 2024.

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