The National Transport Commission (NTC) has released a consultation regulatory impact statement to assess four regulatory options and their potential impacts.

Option 1 is to maintain the existing legal position and to make no new changes to heavy vehicle roadworthiness regulation, other than the previous agreed reforms, namely:

  • the adoption of national heavy vehicle and roadworthiness standards; and
  • the continuation of the existing state-based variations in roadworthiness compliance and enforcement.

Option 2 is to improve industry education including reviewing the Heavy Vehicle Inspection Manual, developing uniform education and training for authorised officers, operators and drivers, and producing new registered codes of practice and guidelines.

Option 3 focuses on amending the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) to allow the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator to require nominated heavy vehicles and classes of heavy vehicles to undergo scheduled inspections. Such a risk management approach would mean that inspection resources are directed towards vehicles that pose the greatest risk. Option 3 also proposes:

  • including new, specific chain of responsibility duty in the HVNL for particular responsible parties to ensure they have business practices in place to maintain vehicles in a roadworthy condition;
  • providing for formal roadworthiness procedures, including criteria for issuing a formal warning or major or minor defect notice; and
  • providing for standardised inspection types, practices and defect clearance processes.

Option 4 proposes many of the same measures as Option 3 but with key differences in the approaches to scheduled inspections. Option 4 proposes mandating scheduled inspections for all heavy vehicles at prescribed intervals (such as annual inspections). Option 4 also proposes including a new general chain of responsibility duty into the HVNL requiring parties in the chain to ‘take all reasonable steps to maintain vehicles in a roadworthy condition’.

The full statement can be viewed here: Consultation Regulatory Impact Statement

Next steps

The NTC is presently considering comments and submissions that have been put forward by interested parties. The NTC currently favours option 3. The regulatory impact statement and implementation of any recommendations will be considered by the Transport and Infrastructure Council in July 2015.