ADRs under review

By: David Goeldner

Rules relating to bus design in Australia are about to come under review

ADRs under review
Australian Design Rules for bus manufacturing are under review

As vehicle manufacturing in Australia comes under pressure, and in some cases to an end, bus building is about to go through a new phase of design rule upgrades.

The Australian Design Rules (ADRs) overseen and administered by the Federal Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development sets the legal standards for all vehicles made inside, or imported into Australia.

Bus Industry Confederation Technical Manager Luke Hardy says of the 62 ADRs applying to all vehicles on Australian roads, 20 apply specifically to the bus industry, with seven of these rules about to be reviewed.

ADRs relating to buses and coaches cover primarily braking, lighting, seat belts and anchorages, instrumentation, mirrors, occupant protection and emissions.

Hardy’s role, on behalf of the bus industry, is to represent BIC through a Transport Liaison Group which meets with the Department’s Strategic Vehicle Safety and Environment Group (SVSEG), to discuss measures to be taken over ADR changes.

Hardy says part of the previous Federal Government’s road safety strategy was to prioritise which ADRs should be revised and changed, with industry consultation.

"The bus ADRs are specific to Australia, whereas cars and trucks are more generalised," he says.

"There are bus-specific ADRs we want to review, with some areas to tighten up, but not necessarily change the outcome – just make the ADR ‘tighter’ and clearer to understand," says Hardy.

He says the ADR revision also accounts for technological and safety advances in Europe, with a move to harmonise Australia’s rules with European Union trends.

"Where there is an importer who would go through a rigorous EU regulation and have to re-do the vehicle in Australia to the same set of standards, there will be harmonisation," says Hardy.

He says the Department has already harmonised braking with Euro standards, and will do the same with the impending Euro VI emission rules coming into effect from 2017 in Australia as ADR 80/04.

Hardy says the ADR revision ‘work list’ covering the entire vehicle manufacturing sector in Australia has a number of high priority items relating to the bus industry.

The advantage to bus operators with the impending revision is to provide a clear understanding of how buses are being designed.

ADRs cover a diverse range of matters such as braking, lighting, seat belts and anchorages, instrumentation, mirrors, occupant protection and emissions.

"If there have been issues that have caused safety problems, then the ADR needs to strengthen in that area," Hardy says.

He adds the areas which most affect bus operations include improving braking systems, improved handling, and enhanced lane departure.

The ADR revision process, which is about to start, should be completed within 18 months.

The bus-specific ADRS to be reviewed from 2014 are:

ADR 13/00 - Lighting and Locations

ADR 35/04 - Commercial Vehicle Braking Systems

ADR 38/04 - Trailer Brake Systems, affecting coaches pulling trailers over 4.5 tonne

ADR 44/02 - Specific Purpose Vehicle Requirements

ADR 58/00 - Requirements for Omnibuses Designed for Hire and Reward

ADR 59/00 - Standards for Omnibus Rollover Strength

ADR 68/00 - Occupant Protection in Buses

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