New roller brake testing procedure borne of collaboration

Heavy Vehicle Industry Australia (HVIA) has come out in strong support for arrangements in implementing new National roller brake testing procedures commencing today.

HVIA Chief Technical Officer, Paul Caus, who has been representing HVIA in the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator’s (NHVR) Roller Brake Test Working Group, says the collaborative process will realise consistent and fair testing outcomes.

“The working group has now developed the National roller brake testing procedure to align with the increased brake performance standard set in the National Heavy Vehicle Inspection Manual (NHVIM)” he said.

“We are grateful to the NHVR for consulting with industry on this matter. There is no doubt the revised Roller Brake Testing procedures are much better than where we started.

“This is still a work in progress and we look forward to continuing our work with the NHVR and our industry partners to refine the approach further.

“For instance, we believe the procedure should make clearer reference to ensuring correct tyre inflation prior to testing.”

Trials of roller brake testing methods were conducted last August at Marulan Heavy Vehicle Testing Station, as a joint initiative coordinated by the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) and Heavy Vehicle Industry Australia (HVIA), New South Wales Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) and the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR).

“Utilising the extensive data obtained from the testing, has allowed detailed comparison of different roller brake testing methods,” Mr Caus said.

“Following the release of the National Roadworthiness Baseline Survey, it was clear that further work needed to be carried out on an appropriate and fair procedure, particularly for trailers.

“The testing enabled us to compare all sorts of different scenarios including trailers fitted with advanced braking systems, such as stability control and ABS.”

“Importantly, we looked at the vehicles as they are typically presented at a roadside test station or mobile test unit. There was no special preparation of vehicles to try and get the best test results.”

The NHVR says the new National roller brake test procedure will require software updates to roller brake test machines, with an initial three-month start-up period for state jurisdictions now underway.

Heavy vehicle inspections will continue under the current arrangements until May 1 after which all tests will be performed using either the National roller brake testing procedure or the Alternative phase-in procedure.

For roller brake testing machines operated by accredited third party examiners (commonly known as Authorised Inspection Stations) machines will be updated as part of routine servicing over the next 12 months and the new national procedure adopted once the machine is updated.

“HVIA has worked closely with the NHVR, the ATA and other industry representatives to ensure we end up with an in-service brake test that is fair, robust and provides an assurance that a vehicle’s brakes are performing,” Mr Caus added.

“The exercise has illustrated the value of industry groups working together with government by producing a procedure that is practical and robust, and meets the safety benchmarks set out in the National Heavy Vehicle Inspection Manual.”

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