Australia’s move to a safer, greener and more productive heavy vehicle future is being hampered by national limits restricting trucks to 2.5 metres in width that are out of step with most of the rest of the world.
The National Road Transport Association (NatRoad) say Australia needs to catch up with standards in the USA and Europe.
“Sixty per cent of new heavy truck designs are from those two markets,” said NatRoad CEO Warren Clark.
“Most truck widths are 2.55m in Europe or 2.6m for refrigerated vehicles, while 2.6m is standard in North America.
“We’re a relatively small market and re-designing European or US-designed trucks for Australian conditions already costs between $15 million and $30 million a year.
“The worry is that future technological developments in trucks will make modifications too hard or too expensive.
“Red tape shouldn’t block the importation of safer and greener vehicles.”
Mr Clark said Australian trucking operators need early market access to both battery-electric and hydrogen fuel cell trucks.
“While these are being developed from industry prototypes, we still need access to the most efficient and safe trucks available,” Mr Clark said.
“Increasing truck width to 2.6m will allow greater efficiencies for trucks, particularly refrigerated vehicles.”
Mr Clark said there was a large body of evidence showing wider trucks were more stable and efficient.