NHVR calls for fast reform of the PBS scheme

Cartage Australia Volvo FM truck and dog combination.

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) has released its Removing Roadblocks to Reform paper, calling for swift reform of the Performance-Based Standards (PBS) scheme.

NHVR Chief Safety and Productivity Officer David Hourigan said the paper called on industry and government to work alongside the regulator to create positive change for the road transport sector.

“The Removing Roadblocks to Reform paper outlines how we can work hand-in-hand with our partners to remove barriers to the productivity potential of the heavy vehicle industry,” Hourigan said.

“This will help us accelerate the transition to a younger and less polluting heavy vehicle fleet, and most importantly, save lives.”

At present in Australia, the safest, most productive, and lower emission heavy vehicles face more barriers to get on the road than a standard ‘prescriptive’ heavy vehicle, according to Hourigan, resulting in higher emissions, loss of productivity benefits and more fatalities.

“We need to modernise the PBS scheme, and to do this we must change the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL),” Hourigan said

“We seek to work with government and industry to reset the PBS scheme’s policy settings and update the PBS standards.”

While the PBS scheme had proven popular, Hourigan said it was initially designed to act as a pathway for innovative designs and technologies to be safely developed and deployed, and was now failing to operate as originally intended.

“Rather than allowing for new truck designs, it is dominated by more or less of the same vehicles,” he said.

“Of more than 20,000 PBS combinations on Australia’s roads, almost half consist of one vehicle type – the truck and dog combination.”

Through the Removing Roadblocks to Reform paper, the NHVR is calling for amendments to the HVNL to allow for mature and proven PBS vehicles to transition to the prescriptive vehicle fleet.

The NHVR will continue to engage with industry and government to seek commitment to enact positive change.

To access the paper, visit NHVR’s Removing Roadblocks to Reform.

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