The start of the new financial year brought regulatory changes that will put heavy vehicle maintenance of in the spotlight like never before. With increased consistency and transparency in determining that heavy vehicles are compliant, now is the time to think about what it means for your fleet.
If your business operates across multiple states, different regulations can add a level of complexity to your business. The good news is that from July 1, both Victoria and Queensland adopted the Heavy Vehicle Inspection Manual. This brought them in line with the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, South Australia and Tasmania. With the majority of states and territories now on board, it’s easier for interstate operators to ensure their fleet meets compliance obligations, no matter where vehicles are registered.
Released in November last year, the manual suggests things to inspect during drivers pre-trip checklists. It also provides consistent criteria for vehicle inspections, so that every inspector is now looking for the same things when checking vehicle identification, steering, brakes, couplings and so on.
While Western Australia is not covered by the manual, operators in that state can also use it to guide their maintenance strategies, since a vehicle that passes in other states would also be up to standard in WA.
“The manual means operators now have a clear picture of the standards, tools and processes used in an inspection, providing confidence in knowing their maintenance meet said requirements,” National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) CEO, Sal Petroccitto, said.
Introducing an (almost) nationwide manual is one step, but for true standardisation, those using it need to be properly trained. July 1 marked the culmination of the government’s introduction of higher criteria for certifying auditors, which now requires them to have technical competencies for heavy vehicles, such as mechanical qualifications or NHVR-recognised training. The 90 National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme Approved Auditors now operating will place greater emphasis on the critical safety components of heavy vehicles.
That’s not the only big news in maintenance for the rest of this year. The NHVR’s National Roadworthy Baseline Survey will roll out through August and September, with the aim of better understanding fleet safety. The introduction of the manual means states and territories are now collecting consistent data, putting the NHVR in a position to conduct a national survey of heavy vehicle roadworthiness for the first time.
During the study, around 9000 heavy vehicles, including rigid, articulated, B-doubles, road trains, buses and plant equipment, will be selected for a 45-minute inspection by authorised officers at roadside checkpoints and in depots throughout Australia.
With so much government attention on maintenance, it’s a great opportunity to examine whether your current system is keeping your business compliant. By ensuring your vehicles are up to standard with pre-trip checklists and preventative maintenance, you’ll keep your fleet running smoothly and make the road safer for everyone.