Semi-trailer white-paint regulation removed to save industry millions

Sophia Rostron   |   February 2, 2016

The Australian Government today announced a change to the Australian Design Rules (ADRs) which will cut red tape and save heavy vehicle operators millions of dollars, with no risk to safety. Minister for Major Projects Paul Fletcher said the change will remove requirements for the rear bumper of semi‑trailers to be painted white, which in most cases is a different colour to the main trailer body.

“These changes were requested by the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) and are expected to save the industry around $12.4 million over the next decade. 

More than 4,500 semi-trailers are manufactured in Australia every year and they will no longer require the extra step in production to paint the rear bumper a different colour to the main trailer body.

The Australian Government and state and territory governments have agreed to amend the ADRs after careful review, as the change will have no impact on vehicle safety.

These changes will be welcomed by industry.”

ATA CEO Christopher Melham applauded the change

"This [the white colour requirement] was intended to improve visibility for other road users, but worked better in theory than in practice – the bumper makes little difference during daylight hours, and the semitrailer’s rear marker plates provide much greater visibility benefits at night time and in low-light situations," Melham says.

The rule was inconsistent in that it only applied to semitrailers – other types of heavy vehicle were exempt from the requirement.

In addition, the ATA was regularly hearing reports that operators had been issued with defect notices because the paint on their rear bumper had been scratched or otherwise obscured.

This had nothing to do with the vehicle’s safety – you certainly wouldn’t expect to be fined if you scratched the paint on your car."

The change will come into effect for new trailers once the Vehicles Standard (Australian Design Rule 42/04 – General Safety Requirements) 2005 – Amendment 6 is registered on the Federal Register of Legislative Instruments.

However, the National, Western Australian and Northern Territory heavy vehicle regulators will need to consider issuing exemptions against their vehicle standards regulations for the change to come into force for trailers in service.

Information about the Australian Design Rules can be accessed online. 

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Sophia Rostron
As the Content editor at Felix (formerly PlantMiner), Sophia works behind the scenes to keep our blog machine in motion. A student of Law and Business, she's very dependent on coffee and loves any excuse to travel.

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