Push for ESC and underrun protection

In a bid to improve safety for road users, the NRMA is pushing for front, side and rear underrun protection to become mandatory on all heavy vehicles to prevent cars from going under a truck in the event of a collision.

It is also calling for ESC (electronic stability control) to become a compulsory fitment to all new heavy vehicles and trailers to help drivers maintain control of the vehicle and therefore reduce the likelihood of an accident.

In addition, the insurance provider wants monitoring equipment installed to detect tampering and provide feedback on a vehicle’s operations.

NRMA’s report in March on heavy vehicle safety has called for the government to place more of a focus on reducing accidents as the freight task grows, including safer trucks, safer roads and improved rest areas.

NRMA President, Wendy Machin said, “Since July 2007, the NRMA has called for the compulsory adoption of the latest safety features for trucks, improved roads, more rest areas complying to Australian standards and a greater commitment by governments to encourage all motorists to share the road responsibly.”

Last year, the Federal Government mandated front underrun protection for all new heavy vehicles over 12 tonnes purchased from January 11, 2011, with existing trucks to be fitted from January 2012.

Machin said that side and rear underrun protection are also important and must meet the European standard.

In response, the ATA’s National Manager of Government Relations and Communications, Bill McKinley said that the industry needed to determine if international schemes are the best fit for Australian conditions.

The ATA will develop best practice advisories for side and rear underrun protection and ESC to prevent prescriptive legislation and educate the industry.

The ATA’s Industry Technical Council will establish two working groups by the end of the month to review literature and learn how leading trucking operators are using underrun protection and ESC. This information will assist in forming content for the advisories that are expected to be released next year. The ATA believes these advisories will give best practice guidance to operators, maintainers and suppliers in the design of side and rear underrun protection.

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