Call to widen trailer limits gains momentum in AU

An industry body in Australia is calling for an increase in trailer dimensions following changes made to overall truck width limits.

The Australian Government has announced changes to the national road vehicle standards to facilitate the supply of safer trucks in Australia and help reduce road trauma while bolstering freight productivity.

The Safer Freight Vehicles package, effective 1 October 2023, includes an increase to the overall width limit from 2.50 to 2.55 metres for new trucks that are fitted with a number of safety features.

These safety features include devices to reduce blind spots, electronic stability control, advanced emergency braking, a lane departure warning system, better reflective markings and side guards.

Trailers, according to the Australian Government, will also benefit from more safety devices being excluded from width and length measurements.

While the Government stated the overall width limit for trailers will not be affected, the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) is calling for an increase to 2.55 metres on these units as well.

“As the next step, the Government should increase the width of trailers to 2.55 metres, and allow trucks and trailers with flat sides, like refrigerated trucks, to be 2.6 metres wide,” said ATA Chair, David Smith.

“A 2.55 metre truck with curtainside devices has a 2.6 metre envelope. Allowing 2.6 metre flat sided trucks and trailers would reduce the energy needed to refrigerate freight, because the side insulation could be 90mm rather than 40mm thick.”

Allowing wider trucks on roads is expected to reduce the number of road freight trips businesses will need to take, saving them money and lowering their environmental impact.

Federal Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Carol Brown, said the Safer Freight Vehicles package responds to direct calls from industry to increase the width limit of trucks, and follows extensive public consultation and feedback.

“These changes will be a real game changer for industry, businesses and other road users, as they will save lives by adopting technology to reduce the likelihood of crashes, while also lowering freight costs and supporting better environmental outcomes,” she said.

“Our truckies play a vital role in the Australian economy and our day to day lives, ensuring we can access the food, medicines and other goods we need.

While this change will allow manufactures to design and supply these safer trucks in Australia, the Australian Government said operators should continue to engage with their registration authority to determine whether road access permits are required.

In other news, earlier this year, the Truck Industry Council and the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator released the findings of the latest research project investigating the impacts of wide tyres.

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