The rebirth of Level 1 meaning General Access
Advantia has previously written about how the equivalency of PBS Level 1 and General Access was broken as a result of implementing the Heavy Vehicle National Law.
Australian transport ministers recently approved PBS Level 1 combinations up to 42.5 tonnes GCM for automatic General Access, pending Queensland parliamentary approval of the new legislation. This is a step in the right direction towards correcting this problem.
Advantia believes that the reform doesn’t go far enough; it should include combinations up to 50 tonnes GCM. (50.5 tonnes with a 6.5-tonne steer axle allowance). PBS Level 1 combinations have been objectively proven to be safer than conventional vehicles that have General Access, and because of this they should be allowed to operate at General Access at the same mass as conventional vehicles.
Dr Geoff Allan, Acting Chief Executive of the National Transport Commission (NTC), also expresses this focus on safety, stating that, “road safety underpins everything we do, and this is a clear example of how Australia can be progressive in yielding better productivity outcomes yet still remain focused on improving road safety.”
While safety is a primary concern, the elephant in the room is that we have still not achieved the policy intent that was approved and published ten years ago. A 50/50.5-tonne limit and automatic General Access will streamline access requests for jurisdictions and heavy vehicle operators. This will also enhance the value proposition of investing in PBS vehicles rather than other combinations, benefitting society with the increased safety and productivity these PBS combinations provide.