Update on Roller Brake Testing

September 13, 2017

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) has agreed to extend the current brake testing transition arrangements in NSW to January 31, 2018, to allow further industry research to be undertaken. The transitional period has already been extended a number of times with the latest extension from 29 September 2017 being most welcome.

We greatly appreciate the cooperation of all the NatRoad members that made their vehicles available to help gather data about brake testing. A program of 21 brake testing trials was conducted from August 14-15 this year and included deceleration tests and roller brake tests on up to three roller brake machines.  The data generated from these tests is now being studied.  In addition, we have embarked on a process of assisting the NHVR in drafting a National Roller Brake Testing Procedure.  The document will set out a single national standard relating to the equipment requirements and the conduct of the roller brake test for heavy vehicles.

At a practical level on 15 September 2017 NatRoad will have discussions with senior personnel from Roads and Maritime Services NSW about what should happen when only one element of a vehicle combination does not meet the brake testing standard but the overall combination does meet the standard.  The National Heavy Vehicle Inspection Manual says that the test is to be applied to the “vehicle “ so we say that the combination should be passed., not failed.  There seem to be different outcomes now about whether one part of the combination fails, eg a trailer might be defected,  dependent on the location of the test and the test method.  It also seems to vary depending on which facility within NSW does the test and between NSW and other States and Territories.  This is one matter that must be sorted out in the national standard now being written.  Work to line up results from roller brake testing with, for example, skid plate test results must also occur before the transition period is finished.

In addition, we have embarked on a process of assisting the NHVR in drafting a National Roller Brake Testing Procedure.  The document will set out a single national standard relating to the equipment requirements and the conduct of the roller brake test for heavy vehicles.  At a practical level, on 15 September 2017, NatRoad will have discussions with senior personnel from Roads and Maritime Services NSW about what should happen when only one element of a vehicle combination does not meet the brake testing standard, but the overall combination does meet the standard.  The National Heavy Vehicle Inspection Manual says that the test is to be applied to the “vehicle” – so, we say that the combination should be passed, not failed.

There seem to be different outcomes now about whether one part of the combination fails (e.g. a trailer might be defected),  dependent on the location of the test and the test method.  It also seems to vary depending on which facility within NSW does the test and between NSW and other States and Territories.  This is one matter that must be sorted out in the national standard now being written.  Work to line up results from roller brake testing with, for example, skid plate test results must also occur before the transition period is finished.

NatRoad will continue to take a close interest in this issue.