The Australian Government has recently revised their national road vehicle standards, introducing new regulations to increase the safety of trucks on Australian roads. The Safer Freight Vehicles package includes a range of new safety features, such as devices to reduce blind spots, electronic stability control, advanced emergency braking, and a lane departure warning system. Additionally, the overall width limit for new trucks has been increased from 2.50 to 2.55 metres, allowing more space for the installation of these safety features. These changes are expected to save lives, prevent serious injuries to vehicle occupants, cyclists, and pedestrians, and ultimately reduce road trauma while boosting freight productivity. It is estimated that the Safer Freight Vehicles package will provide a net benefit of over $500 million to the Australian economy.
The new regulations also include provisions for fitting safety devices and sensors to trucks without counting towards the width and length measurements. This includes front and kerb view mirrors, external parts of camera monitor systems, blind spot sensors, and cross-view mirrors. While the width limit for buses and trailers will not change, they will also benefit from more safety devices being excluded from width and length measurements.
The implementation of the Safer Freight Vehicles package is a significant step forward for the Australian trucking industry. Not only will it enhance road safety and save lives, but it will also reduce the number of road freight trips businesses need to take, resulting in lower costs and a better environmental outcome. The changes will come into effect from 1 October 2023.