Inconsistent defect notices and inspection policies must be fixed in the new truck laws, Chair of the Australian Trucking Association (ATA), Geoff Crouch, said today.
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.
Mr Crouch was releasing the ATA submission to the national truck law review on vehicle standards and safety, calling for major reform to inspection policies and vehicle defect notice process.
“Defect notices are inconsistent, poorly structured and don’t always link to a significant safety issue,” Mr Crouch said.
Mr Crouch said the ATA had called for defect notices and inspection policies to be fixed in 2014, with the need for action having only grown stronger since then.
“The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator and road agencies have ample powers backed by substantial penalties to prosecute through the court system if it is necessary,” Mr Crouch said.
The ATA submission calls for significant reform, and says the new national truck laws should:
- Deliver enforceable standards that set out a consistent approach to defect notices and how they can be cleared
- Take a risk-based approach that allows minor defects to be addressed by formal warnings, on the spot repairs and self-clearing processes
- Provide a review mechanism for defect notices issued in error or that are inconsistent with National Heavy Vehicle Regulator’s inspection and roadworthiness manuals, and
- Deliver consistent and proportionate roadworthiness inspections.
“We’re also calling for the new laws to recognise the NHVR’s role as a national standard setting body and require it to comply with best practice regulation and consultation requirements,” Mr Crouch said.
“The laws must also adopt a risk-based approach to heavy vehicle modifications and include third-party maintenance providers as parties in the chain of responsibility,” he said.
The ATA will provide industry members the opportunity to share their thoughts on defect notices at its upcoming 2019 Technology and Maintenance Conference, held from 14-16 October in the Melbourne Docklands.
“Our conference delegates can work together in our Teletrac Navman Collaboration Zone to provide input into the ATA’s position on how each type of defect should be categorised in future enforceable standards,” Mr Crouch said.
“It is vital we gather feedback from those who experience these issues on a day-to-day basis to ensure the new laws are as fair and effective as possible,” he said.