NHVR allows dangerous goods vehicles under PBS pre advised scheme

From 22 July 2019, Performance Based Standards (PBS) vehicles carrying dangerous goods will be allowed through the PBS pre‑advised design approval process.

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) has further expanded the PBS pre-advised (PA) design approval process. Following a long list of changes earlier this year, this may seem like a small change, but it’s big news for operators hauling dangerous goods.

The PA process allows PBS Design Approval (DA) applications for vehicles that fit within specific design criteria to receive approval from the NHVR in a few days rather than a few weeks. To date, the process has been very successful in expediting the PBS approval process. However, since its inception, the PBS PA process has had no allowance for any type of combination designed to carry dangerous goods.

The Dangerous Goods Act 1985defines a wide range of substances classified as dangerous goods. Broadly speaking, it includes any substance that is particularly hazardous. Importantly, it includes petrol, a liquid which is commonly transported by road around Australia.

This has caused confusion for some fuel transporters because these fuel tanker combinations are regularly designed to carry a combination of petrol and diesel fuel. Unlike petrol, diesel is notclassified as a dangerous good. This means that there is an option of restricting a combination to carrying only diesel to improve the processing time of the DA through the NHVR.

The recent update to the PBS PA process allows vehicles that are designed to carry dangerous goods to go through this process, substantially reducing the processing time for new PBS DA.

With this new change to the PA process, much of the confusion and delays surrounding dangerous goods can be pushed aside. Fuel tanker operators will potentially be able to start operating their new combinations much more quickly, regardless of whether they are carrying petrol or not.

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