Saving lives with new technology in heavy vehicles

The Australian Government has mandated two life-saving vehicle technologies for new heavy vehicles – Advanced Emergency Braking (AEB) and Electronic Stability Control (ESC).

AEB systems detect likely forward collisions, provide the driver with a warning and, if the driver does not respond, apply the brakes automatically.

ESC systems detect the risk of a rollover and automatically decelerate the vehicle in response. They can also detect when a vehicle diverges from the driver’s intended course, and take corrective action to bring the vehicle back on track.

These new standards will apply to all categories of heavy vehicles, from buses and coaches through to heavy goods trucks.

Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister Kevin Hogan said mandating both technologies will help save lives and prevent injuries on the nation’s roads.

“The Australian Government is committed to improving road safety through strong investment and national leadership,” Assistant Minister Hogan said.

“Vehicle technology has an important role to play in saving lives and livelihoods on our roads, which is why we have introduced new standards requiring AEB and ESC systems to be installed in all new heavy vehicles.

“Mandating this technology for heavy vehicles is expected to save around 100 lives and avoid over 2,300 serious injuries over 40 years.

“As well as saving lives and giving a bit of extra peace of mind to our hard-working heavy vehicle operators and their families, the new standards are expected to return a net benefit of around $140 million to the Australian economy.”

Assistant Minister Hogan said these technologies would have significant benefits for the heavy vehicle sector, from bus operators through to those driving our biggest trucks. 

“Crashes involving heavy vehicles can be particularly severe due to the size, loads and trips these types of vehicles are taking, having a devastating effect on the individuals and families involved,” Mr Hogan said.

“Our heavy vehicle operators work hard to keep our economy and nation running by getting produce to plates and goods to markets, and the Australian Government is committed to doing our part to help keep them safe on our roads.

“We have listened and we have acted on the calls by road safety advocates, the states and territories, and Australians directly affected by these types of heavy vehicle crashes, to mandate this technology to prevent tragic outcomes.

“ESC systems for heavy vehicles are estimated to reduce loss of control and rollover crashes by up to 30 per cent, with AEB systems expected to reduce crashes involving a heavy vehicle impacting the rear of another vehicle by up to 57 per cent.

“AEB technology will be particularly impactful for our nation’s articulated vehicles, which see around 70 per cent of fatalities and just under half of the serious injuries from crashes involving heavy vehicles striking the rear of another vehicle.

“These new requirements for AEB and ESC systems have been harmonised with established international standards, ensuring the safest vehicles are made available to Australian operators at the lowest cost.

“The phased introduction of these life-saving systems will give our heavy vehicle sector, including manufacturers, the time needed to effectively make the transition.”

AEB and ESC systems must be installed from 1 November 2023 for all new models of heavy vehicles.

For existing models already in circulation, these life-saving systems must be installed in new buses from 1 November 2024, and new goods vehicles over 3.5 tonnes from 1 February 2025.

The final Regulation Impact Statement, new Australian Design Rules and Explanatory Statements are available at www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2022L00211/Download (AEB systems), and www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2022L00213/Download (ESC systems).

Media Contact:

Assistant Minister Hogan – Mark Highfield 0410 825 558