April 8 - According to Australia's National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR), consultation is under way to assess the health of the country's 520,000-strong heavy vehicle fleet.

NHVR ceo Sal Petroccitto said that information had been released to each state and territory to measure the roadworthiness of heavy vehicles later this year.

"For the first time in Australia, we'll be conducting a national survey of heavy vehicle roadworthiness using trained inspectors to gather consistent safety information," added Petroccitto.

"Different data is currently compiled by each state and territory which means that the roadworthiness of heavy vehicles nationally is unclear. It's a fundamental roadblock to understanding the safety of the fleet and to achieving national consistency."

He noted that the National Roadworthy Baseline Survey is on track to be rolled out in August and September of this year, and NHVR will be speaking to the industry and government in the coming months to discuss the impacts.

The survey will sample approximately 9,000 heavy vehicles, with inspections conducted by authorised officers at roadside check points and in depots throughout Australia. Each vehicle will have a comprehensive visual inspection, expected to take up to 45 minutes.

"For the first time all heavy vehicle inspections will rely on a consistent inspection manual, also due to be adopted nationally in the coming months," Petroccitto continued. "This health check of the heavy vehicle fleet is an important building block to a nationally consistent inspection system."

HLPFI reported on April 1 that two guidance documents were also being issued to Australian councils and governments, which aimed to deliver consistency and standardise the conditions that can be applied to a heavy vehicle permit.