Greg Byrnes12 May 2016
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN
With all due respect, I think this is yet again just another misdirected furphy. The old chestnut that ‘speed is still a major cause of heavy vehicle crashes’ is just an oversimplified reflection of our over simplistic crash analysis and reporting mechanisms. It is just easier for a non technical police officer at a crash scene to ascribe a loss of control accident to speeding.
I am a heavy vehicle brake engineer of some 35+ years standing, and I can say with reasonable confidence that the inherently poor handling, stability, and braking performance of most heavy vehicles on Australian roads today probably has far more to do with their representation in crash statistics than speed!
I have watched in frustration for most of my career as we have squandered opportunity after opportunity to enforce improvements in heavy vehicle safety through our regulatory system, and it borders on criminal that the very latest 2014 edition of our ADR38 that sets minimum requirements for heavy trailer braking still allows trailer builders in a 21st century first world country like Australia to fit the most basic, dumb 50 year old pneumatic technology, when comparable countries have mandated electronic antilock systems on their trailers for over 20 years, and are now mandating electronic stability control!
Try as you might to reduce the practice, drivers will always speed, but if their vehicles handled and braked as well as modern technology allows, the potentially serious consequences of speeding would likely be far less prevalent.
Greg Byrnes, Engineering Manager
Air Brake Corporation of Australia P/L
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