Changes to the way heavy vehicles are loaded will benefit the trucking industry throughout Australia, according to the National Transport Commission (NTC).
National regulations around the matter have recently undergone a significant reform. Adherence to safe loading laws are essential to promote road safety principles for heavy vehicles, but the previous rules were out of date and created unnecessary difficulties for those in the transport industry.
These regulations were first established in 1993 and used the sum of the maximum masses allowed on each of the truck’s axle groups to calculate the total weight allowed for a heavy vehicle. That meant a load had to be distributed precisely across all axle groups, in order for a truck to be eligible to transport the maximum legal load amount.
This placed a further burden on those loading heavy vehicles, with many forced to decipher a “difficult three-dimensional puzzle to get it right”, according to NTC Chief Executive Officer Paul Retter.
Under the new rules, up to one tonne of a load can be transferred from single or tandem axle groups to a tri-axle group on general access heavy vehicles. These are classified as those vehicles with unrestricted access to the road system. Their length must not exceed 12.5 metres for trucks and buses and 19 metres for trucks and trailers and articulated vehicles.
General access vehicles differ substantially from restricted access vehicles, which are prohibited from having widespread access to the road system due to size, mass or special operating conditions.
While the amount of freight that each truck can legally carry will not increase, the reformed mass loading laws will make the loading task much easier and more convenient for everyone involved.
“The new rules allow a bit more flexibility, one tonne, in the mass limits on axles to make the law practical and fair,” said Mr Retter in a statement.
“While they still need to take care to ensure their vehicles are correctly and safely loaded within the limits, the task is now not as hard.”
While directly benefiting the trucking industry, the new scheme will also have an indirect advantage for the wider driving community as well. When heavy loads are moved onto a tri (three axle group) from a dual or single axle without interfering with the total load carried, the truck will have less of an impact on the road.
This could potentially see less wear and tear the network of road network, which could help save money in costly road upgrade and repair projects.
Australia’s trucking industry
The trucking industry in Australia plays a crucial role in both domestic and international trade and commerce, and the new mass loading regulations are designed to boost the sector’s productivity and efficiency even further.
Trucks are a vital part of urban freight transport and it looks set to grow even more important in the future. By 2020, the road freight task throughout Australia is anticipated to be twice the current level of activity.