The Australian Government has made changes to the national road vehicle standards under the Safer Freight Vehicles package.
The changes to the standards aim to facilitate the supply of safer trucks in Australia to help reduce road trauma while bolstering freight productivity. It is estimated these changes will bring a net benefit of $500 million to the national economy.
“Our truckies play a vital role in the Australian economy and our day to day lives, ensuring we can access the food, medicines and other goods we need,” said Federal Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Transport and Senator Carol Brown.
“This announcement will mean they can carry out their work more safely and efficiently, so they and those they share the road with can get home safe at the end of each trip.”
The Safer Freight Vehicles package includes an increase to the overall width limit from 2.50 to 2.55 metres for new trucks that are fitted with a number of safety features.
These safety features include devices to reduce blind spots, electronic stability control, advanced emergency braking, a lane departure warning system, better reflective markings, and side guards to stop pedestrians and cyclists from being caught up under the rear wheels of trucks.
Allowing wider trucks on Australia’s roads will reduce the number of road freight trips businesses will need to take, saving them money and lowering their environmental impact, according to Senator Brown.
To ensure manufacturers and owners are not disadvantaged by fitting trucks with these road safety technologies, a number of safety devices and sensors will be able to be fitted to trucks without counting towards the width and length measurements.
This includes front and kerb view mirrors to better see around the front-left corner of the vehicle, external parts of camera monitor systems for improved indirect vision, blind spot sensors, and cross-view mirrors to see in front of bonneted vehicles.
“This Safer Freight Vehicles package responds to direct calls from industry to increase the width limit of trucks and follows extensive public consultation and feedback,” said Senator Brown. “These changes will be a real game changer for industry, businesses and other road users, as they will save lives by adopting technology to reduce the likelihood of crashes, while also lowering freight costs and supporting better environmental outcomes.”
Changes under the Safer Freight Vehicles package came into effect on 1 October.