Industry Insights

Everything You Need to Know About The Newest Truck Survey

National SurveyThe largest ever national survey of heavy vehicles is taking place over August and September this year.

The National Roadworthiness Baseline Survey “health check” aims to better understand the condition of Australia’s heavy vehicle fleet.

Conducted by authorised inspectors all across the country, most inspections will take place at the roadside to provide an accurate sample of the on-road national fleet.

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR), says the survey hopes to reduce the “safety, economic, and environmental impacts caused by unroadworthy heavy vehicles”.

A total of 8,270 vehicles will be inspected – approximately 1.7 % of the 520,000 heavy vehicles in Australia.

This includes 3,615 rigid trucks, 1,365 Semi-trailers, 850 B-doubles and 355 road trains, all scrutinised over a mammoth 4,940 hours.

The survey is the second leg of the Roadworthiness program, following the release of the National Heavy Vehicle Inspection Manual, which endeavours to improve vehicle standards compliance and help reduce downtime.

The data collected will be released to the public in January 2017, and will be used to identify risks associated with individual vehicles, vehicle types, owner-drivers, and vehicle systems.

The NHVR will then use the data to create a list of proposals for making Australian roads safer and present the research to transport ministers at the Transport and Infrastructure Council meeting in mid-2018.

You’ve been pulled over: What now?

The regulator says the chances of being pulled over are low, but if you’re one of the “lucky” 8,270, here’s the lowdown:

Inspectors will intercept vehicles at select, non-metropolitan sites on major highways, using electronic signage and hand signals to wave drivers down.

If you’re pulled over for an inspection, you’ll need to stay with your vehicle during the inspection and cooperate with the authorised officers .

The inspection should take an average of 45 minutes, but may be shorter or longer depending on your vehicle’s level of compliance.

What does a test involve?

A roller brake test is conducted on every axle to test for signs of wear and tear in suspension and joints.

The vehicle will also undergo a shaker plate test, particularly looking at steer axles, kingpins, steering and suspension components.

A visual inspection will also take place to assess the frame, seat and seatbelt condition, identify any air or fluid leaks, and check the condition of wipers, mirrors, windscreens, tyre tread, and safety chains.

What happens if you fail?

If your vehicle is deemed uncompliant then a defect notice or enforcement notice will be issued.

Although the survey is mainly a mechanical health check, inspectors will enforce applicable laws if the vehicle is defective and can conduct other checks for mass and fatigue if they wish.

For example, if an inspector thinks you’re in breach of fatigue conditions, they may check your work diary after the inspection is complete.

Once the vehicle is inspected it won’t be checked again at future stops during the NRBS, however trailers towed by a different hauling unit may be subject to re-inspection.

The results of each specific inspection will not be published, though jurisdictions may follow up with you, depending on your vehicle’s condition.

If your truck is maintained properly, and your work diary up to date, you can be back on the road in less than an hour, which is a small price to pay for safer roads for everyone.

To find out more about the survey, the NHVR has prepared a detailed FAQ on the initiative.

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