AusRAIL, Market Sectors

Tas recommends code of conduct over legislated roll limits for heavy vehicles

<p>A report on heavy vehicle safety in Tasmania has recommended that the industry develop a comprehensive code of practice to address issues, such as truck stability.</p> <p>The report, prepared by the Heavy Truck Safety Advisory Council (HETSAC), was in response to the findings of a survey by New Zealand-based consultants on the stability of Tasmania’s truck fleet.</p> <p>As a state with limited rail transport and a decentralised population, Tasmania has traditionally relied on heavy vehicle road transport to convey goods to and from its major ports and between its principal population centres. </p> <p>Tasmania’s topography and often mountainous terrain with narrow, winding roads has more similarities with the New Zealand environment than mainland Australia. </p> <p>Releasing the report yesterday (Thursday, March 30), the Tasmanian minister for infrastructure, Jim Cox, said that the State Government would be endorsing the recommendation.</p> <p>&#8220HETSAC is strongly of the view that the development of a regulated code of practice will ensure a collaborative approach is taken to managing issues relating to heavy vehicle road safety,&#8221 he said.</p> <p>Mr Cox said he did not intend to regulate the introduction of a static roll threshold (SRT) limit for new or existing heavy vehicles, and that Tasmania was able to learn from the New Zealand experience that introducing an SRT limit could in fact have undesirable results.</p> <p>&#8220Introducing an SRT limit on its own is a simplistic knee-jerk approach that will not lead to improved heavy vehicle safety,&#8221 he said.</p> <p>&#8220The New Zealand experience shows this to be the case, with higher speed rollover crashes appearing after the introduction of the SRT limit.&#8221</p> <p>The survey report found that around 87% of the Tasmanian heavy vehicle fleet could meet the minimum SRT requirement if it was introduced tomorrow.</p> <p>&#8220The code of practice will address issues such as heavy vehicle stability, through the introduction of new technology and vehicles, improved loading practices and vehicle modifications where feasible,&#8221 Mr Cox said.</p> <p>&#8220More importantly, the code of practice will provide for comprehensive driver training and industry education.</p> <p>&#8220The heavy vehicle industry has given a clear and strong message that it wants the Tasmanian fleet to be as safe as possible and that it is prepared to act on a broad range of safety related changes.&#8221</p> <p>Because the database of heavy vehicle crash statistics in Tasmania was small, a slight increase or a trend in crash incidents tended to be magnified in the statistics, the report said.</p> <br />