PBS arrangements questioned

The National Road Transport Association has told the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) that PBS arrangements, as they currently stand, threaten to stifle innovation.

Reducing regulatory costs and an expansion to as-of-right access to agreed networks were proving prohibitive under Performance Based Standards (PBS) and needed to be prioritised according to NatRoad.

While the NHVR’s ‘Performance Based Standards 2.0’ discussion paper had been described as “a mixed bag” by NatRoad, it conceded that many of its proposed reforms were improvements.

At present, there was no clear path for PBS vehicles to exit the PBS scheme into the ‘as-of-right’ fleet according to NatRoad CEO Warren Clark

“We know that these are issues that the NHVR has to refer to the National Transport Commission (NTC) under current legislation,” said Clark.

“So let’s get on with that and change the scheme so it’s based on performance requirements and not prescriptive ones,” he said.

Clark said NatRoad has members who have spent large amounts to have PBS vehicles designed and approved, only to mothball them because route access has not been granted.

“That does nobody any good,” he said.

“We support the immediate development of a fast-tracked PBS approval for heavy vehicles that are built with safety features that allow a maximum vehicle width of up to 2.6 metres as-of-right access to the road network.

“Anything that allows manufacturers to take on assessor and/or certifier functions to minimise time and cost barriers to industry without compromising safety has to be a good thing,” said Clark.

Clark added that NatRoad was also backing the NHVR proposal for a High Performance Fleet as a separate, quasi-prescriptive category of heavy vehicle, allowing older PBS vehicles to transition out of the scheme.

“Having a designated High Performance Fleet can achieve this, but allowing further access without requiring a permit remains our preferred option,” concluded Clark.

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