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Mandatory ABS for trailer brakes from 2014

File photo courtesy of Yass Tribune.
File photo courtesy of Yass Tribune.

New rules mandating safer brakes on new heavy trailers will come into law from July 2014.

A new Australian Design Rule will requires Anti-lock Braking Systems (ABS) or load proportioning brake systems to be installed on new heavy trailers.

The change to safety standards for heavy trailers will complement the recent mandating of ABS for new heavy trucks and buses, scheduled to commence at the same time.

ABS can greatly improve heavy vehicle stability in emergency situations and in instances of wheel lock up.

The government expects the new rules will save over 50 lives on Australian roads over 30 years.

The new standards will cover the bulk of the new fleet, while being flexible for certain types of trailers.

The mandating of ABS or load proportioning brake systems on all new heavy vehicles and trailers represents the completion of the first phase of the National Heavy Vehicle Braking Strategy.

In line with the National Road Safety Strategy, the next phase of work will consider even more advanced braking technology such as electronic stability control.

Trucking association welcomes new rule

The Australian Trucking Association has congratulated the government for listening to the industry and requiring all new heavy vehicle trailers to be fitted with anti-lock or load proportioning brakes.

Chief executive of the ATA Stuart St Clair said the requirement would help truck drivers retain control of their vehicles in emergency situations, such as when braking hard on a wet road.

“Last year, the ATA urged the government to introduce the new standards. It’s a key safety measure in our strategic plan. The government’s own regulation impact statement shows that requiring ABS for heavy trucks, trailers and buses will save more than 50 lives on our roads over the next thirty years,” Mr St Clair said.

“I want to congratulate Minister Briggs for listening to the industry. I also want to congratulate the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development for working so closely with the ATA’s experts on the technical specifics of the new standards, such as the requirements for plugs, wiring and data signals.

“I’m pleased to say there will only be minimal exemptions from the standards. Very heavy trailers will be exempt – these trailers already meet the performance requirements because of their weight – as will road train converter dollies.

“Special purpose trailers with more than four tyres per axle or more than four axles in a single group will also be exempt. The technology cannot yet deal with these arrangements, and in any case these trailers are used under very restricted conditions, often involving escort vehicles and weather restrictions.

“The ATA will continue working with other industry associations on developing a code of practice to help operators combine trucks and trailers with different braking technologies.

“We will also keep lobbying for the introduction of even stronger brake standards in the future. As the next step, the government needs to mandate electronic braking systems with roll stability assist for trucks carrying bulk loads of flammable or combustible liquids, explosives and radioactive substances,” Mr St Clair said.

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