Axle mass limits key to any changes on vehicle width

HVIA has settled on its position on proposed changes to Australian Design Rules (ADR) governing vehicle width.

HVIA’s National Policy and Government Relations Manager Greg Forbes says the Department of Infrastructure’s Discussion Paper on Safer Freight Vehicles generated a diversity of views, particularly between truck and trailer manufacturers.

“The paper proposes the relaxation of ADRs to incentivise safer and more productive heavy vehicles,” Mr Forbes said.

“HVIA is of the view that any increases in width should be considered in conjunction with increased steer axle masses.”

The Department’s paper is a response to the National Road Safety Action Plan 2018-2020 which called for removal of barriers to the uptake of safer vehicles.

The paper pulls together a range of initiatives around indirect vision devices, vehicle width changes and axle configurations which have been under discussion over the last couple of years and seeks feedback from all interested parties by 30 June 2021.

“HVIA members do not want trailer widths increased due to the cost of retooling, transitional costs and potential loss of Australian manufacturing jobs which would far exceed any safety or productivity benefits,” Mr Forbes said.

“Our members are supportive of increasing truck widths to 2.55m to encourage adoption of the safety features.

“However, if steer axle masses are not increased, the potential safety and environmental benefits may not materialise by increasing width alone.

“Without increases to axle mass limits the additional mass of the safety equipment will reduce the payload of the vehicle.

“This reduced payload may act as a disincentive to purchase a new vehicle, directly reducing freight productivity, and slowing the uptake of the very safety equipment that the government is trying to mandate.”

Transitioning Arrangements

HVIA’s submission highlights the heavy vehicle industry as one of the important manufacturing sectors remaining in the Australian economy.

“Unlike the car industry, the heavy vehicle industry in Australia has survived without subsidies from the taxpayer,” the paper says.

Mr Forbes said it is important that Government proceeds with caution.

“HVIA is strongly opposed to changes to trailer width, but if the government does decide to change trailer width, manufacturers who would require retooling must be compensated by a targeted assistance package to defray the costs of the transition.

“These Australian businesses have invested heavily in tooling and systems based on existing ADRs; if this was to change, then many of these businesses will lose or have these investments compromised.

“HVIA is therefore seeking an undertaking from Government that no Australian manufacturer will be disadvantaged, and would challenge the Government to quantify the reasons – including the safety and productivity benefits – they are relying on in making such a decision.

“We would also insist that sufficient transitional funding would be put in place to guarantee this.

“The implications here are huge so we strongly encourage any member that could be impacted to consider making a submission.”

Comments close on 30 June 2021. For further information please contact Greg Forbes, on 0437 923 755 or

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