National Roadworthiness Baseline Survey


A plan to develop measures to improve the level of roadworthiness of heavy vehicles in Australia was approved in November 2015 by Transport Ministers from all jurisdictions.

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) was tasked with this project.

As part of this project the NHVR will be coordinating the National Roadworthiness Baseline Survey (NRBS) in participating jurisdictions to provide a point-in-time snapshot of the mechanical condition of the heavy vehicle fleet.

Like Western Australia, the Northern Territory has not signed up to the NHVR and is not a participating jurisdiction.  WA and NT have, however, agreed to participate in the NRBS given the benefit of a uniform national survey.

The Northern Territory Government is mindful that local heavy vehicle operators already have their vehicles inspected annually for roadworthiness, and are already subjected to random on-road compliance activities including roadworthiness checks by transport inspectors. 

The local industry has demonstrated a high level of cooperation and compliance with roadworthy standards through this regime. 

To this end, the Northern Territory’s involvement in the NRBS has been negotiated to better reflect the size of the heavy vehicle fleet, with the survey to be conducted in a manner designed to minimise the impost on the heavy vehicle industry.

What does this mean for local heavy vehicle operators?

During September 2016 the Northern Territory Department of Transport will be supplementing normal weighbridge operations with NRBS inspections.  If directed to enter a weighbridge, normal procedures will apply. However, some randomly selected vehicles will be subject to greater scrutiny in terms of a roadworthy inspection which will include a brake roller test.

It is understood that this extra scrutiny could have an impact on operators who may be held up at a weighbridge for more time than usual. 

The Department of Transport will ensure that these procedures are handled in the most efficient manner possible with additional resources on hand to expedite the process. Vehicles will not be expected to queue after being randomly selected for these inspections, and Transport inspectors will be applying their usual common sense approaches and processes to dealing with any vehicle safety concerns.

In addition to the weighbridge operations, data will be provided on the results of routine heavy vehicle roadworthy inspections through the Alice Springs or Darwin test shed.  This is expected to have minimal impact, and is unlikely to impose additional delays on operators attending the test shed. 

The Northern Territory Government looks forward to the local heavy vehicle industry’s support in participating in this road safety initiative, and has invited industry association representation at these operations. 

Authorised by Andrew Kirkman, Chief Executive, Department of Transport, 18 – 20 Cavanagh Street, Darwin, NT 0800

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