STRICTER REQUIREMENTS: The South Australian Government has announced older trucks will now be inspected every one to two years, starting in 2020.
STRICTER REQUIREMENTS: The South Australian Government has announced older trucks will now be inspected every one to two years, starting in 2020.

Inspection regime to start soon

IT WASN'T the news the South Australian Government would be requiring older heavy vehicles to undergo inspections to ensure their roadworthiness that had drivers and the industry worried.

It was fears that during those inspections drivers would face fines and defects for "ridiculous” issues.

As one driver put it while commenting on the issue on the Big Rigs Facebook page, "How many trucks get defects for a blown globe? Annual checks won't stop a cop chasing gift cards for meeting key performance indicators”.

SA Transport Minister Stephan Knoll has announced all vehicles with a Gross Vehicle Mass, as well as trailers with an Aggregated Trailer Mass, of more than 4.5 tonnes must undergo inspections every two years once they reach four years from the date of manufacture.

Vehicles will need to be inspected annually once they reach 10 years since manufacture and some exemptions will apply.

The changes are part of the second stage of the State Government's Heavy Vehicle Inspection Scheme, which was introduced in response to an inquest into a fatal semi-trailer crash at the bottom of the South Eastern Freeway in January 2014.

The state coroner recommended all heavy vehicles should be subjected to a periodic and frequent inspection regime.

South Australian Road Transport Association boss Steve Shearer said the industry had "no problem” with an inspection regime and handing out defect notices for issues that actually affected the safety of the vehicle, however he wanted the government to take more responsibility for the maintenance of the state's roads, which he said was one of the factors in causing truck parts to break and wear out.

"Trucks are a workhorse and need to work on pretty crap roads, which they (the government) provide,” he said.

"What the government must get its head around and accept is that if you give me a poor road with a poor shoulder and a passing vehicle, stones bigger than a thumb get chucked at passing vehicles and in some cases smash a light on a truck.

"That's the government's fault and when that happens the government and police force should be realistic and shouldn't be defecting trucks over things like that.

"Most defects are absolute bulls--t and have nothing to do with the serious safety stuff. It's one of the banes of a truck operator's life and the cost it adds to road transport is extraordinary and without any safety gain.”

Government statistics revealed that more than 3000 vehicles had been inspected upon changing hands since August 2018, with 60 per cent failing their initial inspection.

Faults identified included 914 vehicles with faulty brakes, 915 with steering and suspension issues, 838 with structural problems and 701 with engine driveline concerns.

Mr Shearer said he had written to the minister, asking for a further breakdown of the data, which he said was "useless” and did not give a clear picture of what was happening out there on the road.

"We need a full breakdown of the trucks being inspected - were they line haul or rigids, local or commercial?” he said.

"Without that data we can't assess what else we could and should be doing.

"The simple reality is if the government or the minister thought 60 per cent of trucks were unroadworthy, do you think they'd wait until the middle of next year for the second stage?”