NHVR seeks supply chain stakeholder input for new safety push

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) has released a draft version of its Heavy Vehicle Safety Strategy for 2021-2025, which seeks to reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving heavy vehicles across the Australian supply chain.

The NHVR is inviting consultation from industry stakeholders on the following topics: the NHVR’s approach to partnerships; creating individual and industry-wide cultural change to improve safety; how to drive uptake of modern, safer heavy vehicle fleets; and influencing road network designs to support safety goals.

The draft strategy is part of a broader road safety push aimed at achieving a 50 per cent reduction in the annual per capita fatality rate and a 30 per cent reduction in the serious injury per capita rate for road traumas by 2030.

The draft strategy sets out an agenda for transitioning from traditional compliance and enforcement approaches to a new regulatory system.

“For the NHVR, this means expanding its efforts beyond traditional regulatory responses, to include greater collaboration with key regulatory partners, delivering promotion and education campaigns, proactively influencing policy changes, and other non-traditional approaches to dealing with heavy vehicle road safety,” the draft strategy says. “Collaboration and understanding across the supply chain are critical to influencing road safety outcomes. The NHVR is uniquely positioned to ‘join the dots’ to help improve safety in the heavy vehicle industry.”

One key focus of the strategy is to enable successful compliance with the altered Chain of Responsibility (COR) laws, which were introduced in 2018. According to the NHVR, the COR laws identify parties in supply chains who exert control or influence over transport tasks as having responsibility to ensure national heavy vehicle laws are complied with. The laws make it possible for multiple parties to be held responsible for offences committed by heavy vehicle drivers and be subject to legal liability.

Among the many components of the proposed strategy is the implementation of a new national regulatory model that employs risk analysis and intelligence to target the most dangerous areas and actors in supply chains.

“The NHVR’s risk-based approach to regulatory activities involves setting priorities based on the likelihood of adverse outcomes and the potential seriousness of these outcomes. Once a risk has been identified, the NHVR’s activities are tailored and deployed in proportion to the safety risk,” the draft strategy says. “The NHVR will ensure visible, targeted enforcement is deployed and directed at those drivers, operators and supply chains who are not willing to comply with the HVNL [Heavy Vehicle National Law] and pose a serious safety risk.”

Submissions close on Friday 30 April 2021, and the Safety Strategy will be finalised and published later this year.

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