Mandatory ABS to cost $3k per bus, RIS says


Federal Government plan to mandate ABS for heavy vehicles will cost $3,000 per bus

By Brad Gardner | May 7, 2013

A Federal Government plan to mandate antilock braking systems (ABS) for heavy vehicles from the beginning of next year is expected to cost $3,000 per bus.

A regulatory impact statement (RIS) examining the costs and benefits of the Government’s plan to amend Australian Design Rules has outlined the cost of fitting the safety feature to buses over 4.5 tonnes.

The figure varies when applied to other vehicles, with ABS adding $1,000 to the cost of a light duty truck and $3,560 to a heavy duty truck. The RIS says the cost to fit ABS to a medium duty truck will be $2,500, while it will be $1,500 for trailers.

"The primary costs under this option would be in fitting the ABS equipment itself," the paper says of the Government’s plan, which is due to come into force on January 1, 2014.

The RIS says the majority of buses over 4.5 tonnes operating under local government contracts are required to have ABS. It argues broadening ABS’s coverage will assist bus operators.

"In the case of buses, the majority of the benefit of a regulatory intervention would be to transfer local contract arrangements into national standards," it says.

"This would provide increases in administrative efficiency as the requirements for each bus model would be handled only once and on a national basis."

The RIS says mandating ABS will provide net benefits of $73 million and save 57 lives over 30 years. The Government is currently consulting with industry on its plan, which the RIS says is primarily aimed at reducing road trauma in crashes involving heavy vehicles.

"In the past, surveys conducted by states and territory transport agencies have shown that tyres and brakes are two dominant components on heavy commercial vehicles that contribute to mechanical defects that can in turn lead to crashes," the RIS states.

Road Safety Minister Catherine King last month announced the Government would give the heavy vehicle industry one month to provide feedback on the RIS.

The push to mandate ABS is part of the Government’s strategy to improve heavy vehicle braking performance. The next phase of the initiative will look at mandating more advanced technology such as electronic stability control.

"ABS can provide greater benefits for heavy commercial vehicles when compared to passenger cars because of the relatively poorer braking capabilities of larger vehicles," the RIS says.

"ABS can reduce crashes involving jack-knife, loss-of-control, run-off-road, lane departure, or skidding, or where trucks with conventional brakes are unable to stop in time to avoid hitting something frontally."

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