HVIA Raise Alarm On PBS Notice Interpretation Change

Road managers push back on authorising access for certain four-axle trucks that meet all legal requirements and have been operating for years without any issue

HVIA has recently become aware of a confusing and frustrating situation where some operators have been denied network access for specific truck/trailer combinations, despite meeting all published legal requirements.

The issue involves one of the National Performance Based Standards (PBS) notices, the National Class 2 PBS Level 1 and 2A Truck and Dog Trailer Authorisation Notice, which has been in force for many years. It authorises the use of Class 2 PBS three- and four-axle rigid trucks towing three-, four- and five-axle dog trailers on designated networks.

Its definitions cover several rigid truck configurations, including ‘single steer tandem drive’, ‘twin steer tandem drive’, and ‘single steer tri drive’ vehicles. The notice can be accessed here: National Class 2 PBS Level 1 & 2A Truck and Dog Trailer Authorisation Notice (2022).

Despite this, HVIA understands some operators of ‘single steer tri drive’ rigid trucks have had recent permit renewals refused, despite previously operating their vehicles for many years without any issue. The vehicles comply with all requirements of PBS and the notices.

This development is causing considerable confusion amongst industry, including operators of PBS-approved vehicles that comply with the notice.

HVIA has engaged with the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) in recent weeks in a bid to understand the reason behind these sudden changes but was only advised that it is investigating.

HVIA’s position is that it is unacceptable to impose a more stringent interpretation of an existing regulation to the detriment of industry, particularly where there has been no demonstrable safety or infrastructure concern.

Decisions to restrict or deny permit renewals have deep and severe financial impacts, and cannot be made in isolation, nor without consultation.

HVIA has strongly advocated for the previously-applied access arrangements for all impacted vehicles to be reinstated immediately and will continue to work with the NHVR to resolve this issue.

For more information contact Chief Technical Officer Adam Ritzinger at a.ritzinger@hvia.asn.au.

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