The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) is bemused and concerned at Austroads’ decision to today go back 27 years in time.
Austroads, the research organisation owned by the Commonwealth and state transport departments, today said it had completed a study showing that the allowable width of trucks could be increased safely to 2.55 metres, excluding attachments.
According to Austroads, the study recommends that 2.6 metre wide trucks should be considered in the future.
“It’s decisions like this that are holding our country back economically,” ATA CEO Ben Maguire said.
“The ATA’s understanding is that Austroads made the same recommendation 27 years ago, in 1992.
“The ATA and industry have consistently made the case that 2.6 metre wide trucks should have been considered in this study, however Austroads have once again avoided the issue and delayed it to some distant future time,” he said.
“An increase in allowable width to 2.6 metres would enable refrigerated trucks to utilise thicker insulated walls without loss of payload. In 38 degree outside temperatures, these thicker walls would reduce heat gain by 36 per cent and deliver a fuel saving of 2500 litres per typical refrigerated vehicle, per year.
“It appears our governments are not serious about the international harmonisation of refrigerated vehicle widths, ignoring the recommendation of the expert panel inquiry on freight and supply chain priorities,” Mr Maguire said.
The ATA has called for Austroads to release its truck width study immediately.
“Austroads have announced the completion of the study without releasing the actual study,” Mr Maguire said.
“They have denied the ATA’s request for a copy. We have lodged an immediate freedom of information request, because the public and the industry have the right to know why governments are not prepared to consider this sensible approach to increasing productivity and reducing fuel consumption,” he said.
The ATA and its member associations collectively represent the 50,000 businesses and 200,000 people in the Australian trucking industry. Together, we are committed to safety, professionalism and viability.
Australian trucks are 2.5 metres wide, excluding safety devices like mirrors, but vehicles wider than 2.5 metres already operate safely on the road network. A standard traffic lane is 3.5 metres wide, going down to 3.3 metres in some urban areas.