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Government accreditation a dismal failure

It’s not the first time, but a recent call by the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) for the winding down of the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme (NHVAS) remains entirely appropriate.

After all, the vehicle maintenance standards of some road transport companies have been shown to be absolutely disastrous under the watch of the NHVAS.

Consider, for instance, this most recent call by the ATA which follows on from the association’s recommendation for a review of the NHVAS’s effectiveness after the tragic crash of a Cootes tanker near Mona Vale in northern Sydney last year.

To its credit, the ATA hasn’t pulled any punches. According to the association’s submission into a heavy vehicle roadworthiness review being jointly conducted by the National Transport Commission and the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR), ‘Australia’s transport ministers should wind down the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme in its current form.

‘The NHVAS would fail to meet any credible set of standards,’ the ATA submission states. ‘If it was not a government scheme run by the NHVR, it would be shut down.’

Critically, the submission pointed out that operators working under NHVAS Maintenance in NSW recorded a worse level of major defects in 2009 than operators that were not in any accreditation scheme at all.

Given tragic events such as the Mona Vale incident and the subsequent grounding of the Cootes fleet, it’s unlikely that maintenance standards within the NHVAS regime have improved in the years since 2009.

However, in a statement which some will see as a push for more patronage of its own TruckSafe accreditation scheme, the ATA said the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator ‘… should not continue seeking to crowd out market offerings such as the ATA’s TruckSafe safety management system by delivering a competing accreditation scheme.’

On another tack, the ATA submission also challenges the issue of heavy vehicle defect notices, noting that, ‘… some enforcement officers had poor mechanical understanding, which resulted in incorrect defect notices being issued with little recourse for the operator.’

More like none, than little.

Source: Leading independent industry journalist.

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