Width changes for safer freight vehicles

The Albanese Government and National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) are backing a safer, cleaner heavy vehicle industry by implementing the Safer Freight Vehicles reforms.

As part of these reforms, heavy vehicles of up to 2.55 metres wide will now be provided with general access to Australia’s road network.

Wider vehicles are required to be fitted with additional safety features, including an enhanced set of devices for indirect vision, stability control, advanced emergency braking, lane departure warning, side underrun protection, and conspicuity markings.  

The implementation of the Safer Freight Vehicles reforms is a significant step forward for heavy vehicle operators, with this increased general width limit now reflected in the Heavy Vehicle National Law.

This follows the Albanese Government making changes to the Australian Design Rules last October to allow an increase in the maximum width of heavy vehicles fitted with the most modern safety features, from 2.50 to 2.55 metres.

The NHVR will now start working with key industry associations to develop a process to allow existing vehicles already in-service to be certified as Safer Freight Vehicles, given only new vehicles are currently eligible. This process is expected to be finalised in early 2025.

To read more, including the safety features Safer Freight Vehicles need to have, visit Vehicle Standards Guide 35.

Quotes attributable to Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government Minister Catherine King:

“We have gotten on with the job of = delivering the Safer Freight Vehicles reforms, which is now in place for New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, the Northern Territory, and the Australian Capital Territory.

“This means these safer heavy vehicles will have general access to the road network in these jurisdictions, supporting improved road safety for all.”

Quotes attributable to Assistant Infrastructure and Transport Minister Carol Brown:

“Reaching this stage has been a collaborative effort from the Australian Government, NHVR, states and territories, and importantly, the heavy vehicle industry.

“The Australian Government heard industry’s concerns that the previous width limits were a barrier to them installing critical safety technologies, and we have acted. By granting general access to vehicles up to 2.55 metres wide, we are promoting the highest level of road safety, supporting truckies to do their vital work more safely.”

Quotes attributable to NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto OAM:

“The implementation of the Safer Freight Vehicles marks the completion of another action from the NHVR’s Vehicle Safety and Environmental Technology Uptake Plan (SETUP).

“As a modern and progressive regulator, the NHVR wants to ensure heavy vehicles are equipped with the latest safety technology, and make sure there are no regulatory barriers when it comes to manufacturers identifying and installing new systems.

“This announcement is a gamechanger for both operators and manufacturers, and will ensure the safest vehicles are available in Australia, helping keep all road users safe.”