Brad Gardner, 15 December 2015

NHVR says Australia is moving closer to consistent heavy vehicle inspection procedures.

The long-held aim of consistent heavy vehicle inspection standards across Australia has moved closer with the release of a new manual.

Launched today, the National Heavy Vehicle Inspection Manual gives the country’s trucking operators and multiple transport agencies access to a single set of uniform standards to refer to when checking a truck’s roadworthiness.

All states and territories have agreed to implement the manual into their inspection regimes by July 1 next year in a move that will be aimed at addressing a long held industry complaint about inconsistent treatment from officers during inspections.

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) developed the manual and says it provides transparency about how heavy vehicles will be inspected nationally.

“The manual details practical information about wear, damage or change to important components and systems for in-service inspections by owners, operators and administrators in each state and territory,” NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto says.

“Heavy vehicle transport operators can now begin using the manual in routine maintenance programs to improve vehicle standards compliance and help reduce vehicle downtime.”

The manual includes information and diagrams on the vehicle components involved in inspections, including brakes, couplings, steering and suspension, wheels, body condition, lights, mirrors, engine and more. Inspectors also have access to a checklist to guide them on what needs to be inspected.

“The importance of this manual can’t be overstated. It will provide a single roadworthiness reference for both authorised officers as well as heavy vehicle operators,” South Australia transport minister Stephen Mullighan, who launched the manual, says.

“The manual is the first stage in developing a single national approach to heavy vehicle roadworthiness.”

Petroccitto says the manual is the first project delivered under the National Heavy Vehicle Roadworthiness Program.

He says the program aims to implement nationally-consistent standards for the conduct of inspections, the skills of inspectors, the criteria against which components or sub-systems are inspected and the management and clearance of defects.

He says the regulator is planning to develop resources to help trucking operators integrate the manual into their businesses.

The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) has welcomed the document’s release and says it will provide trucking operators and inspectors with clarity on inspection requirements.

“With a single set of uniform standards to work from, trucking operators can avoid the frustration of enforcement officers applying different standards in different states and territories,” ATA CEO Chris Melham says.

“The ATA consulted extensively with the NHVR during the development of this manual to ensure it meets the requirements of the trucking industry.”

Melham adds that the NHVR must ensure the manual receives adequate support as it is adopted throughout Australia.

“The National Heavy Vehicle Inspection Manual is only as good as the commitment by all states and territories to adopt a nationally consistent approach to its use with heavy vehicle inspections,” he says.

“The NHVR must now support the uniform use of this manual by also rolling out an education and awareness program targeting heavy vehicle inspectors.”

Melham says the NHVR must be the agency to provide training so that inspectors interpret and apply the standards in a uniform and nationally consistent manner.

Extracted in full from Owner Driver.