According to a government report, three out of five commercial trucks have failed mandatory safety checks in South Australia over the past year. The State Government is currently working to implement a broader and more stringent inspection process for trucks—ABC reports that it will not be ready until the first half of 2020.
However, one requirement of the new process has already taken effect: all heavy vehicles must be inspected after undergoing a change of ownership. The initial results are not positive. Since August 2018, 3,009 heavy vehicles have been subject to the checks, and 60 percent of them did not pass.
In 914 inspections, authorities found issues with brakes; 915 found problems with steering and suspension; and 838 inspections found unspecified structural problems. A number of trucks failed in more than one category.
The next phase of the new inspection process—yet to be implemented, though the law was passed in 2017—makes it necessary for all trucks more than four years old to undergo safety checks every two years at the least. This would increase the number of annual inspections by about 60,000.
Transport Minister Stephan Knoll said his agency is trying to get the new regime up and running with as little disruption as possible, and also at as low a cost as possible.
“I am pleased to advise that inspection costs will be regulated and capped at $268 per initial inspection,” Knoll said, according to ABC. “Concerns about accessibility to inspection stations for those in rural, regional and remote parts of South Australia are central to our considerations.”
Despite the dismal statistics, executive director of the South Australian Road Transport Association Steve Shearer said there is no cause for alarm among motorists:
“No truck or car can remain perfect from the time of manufacturing right through its working life,” he said, adding, “If just one wheel or one axle has a minor fault in the brake response that will result in a fail. The truck would still stop quite easily because all the other brakes are working fine. The public certainly has no need to be alarmed.”