A collaborative probe has been initiated by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) and South Australia Police to investigate the alleged practice of remapping commercial truck engines in Australia.
Engine remapping refers to the process of adjusting the engine control unit on a car or truck, typically with the goal of improving efficiency and performance. It’s simply a matter of tweaking settings on a computer. Remapping is legal to an extent, but becomes illegal when the modifications violate rules and regulations.
Prime Mover reports that, according to NHVR Director of Investigations Steve Underwood, remapping engines enables one to cheat emissions and speed regulations set by the Heavy Vehicle National Law.
“Remapping engines allows trucks to exceed the speed limit unimpeded, endangering all other road users,” Underwood said. He proceeded to state that the investigation was launched after the NHVR discovered a number of heavy duty trucks with engines that had been tampered with. The agency is now aiming to determine how common the practice has become.
“This operation commenced after police intercepted a number of heavy vehicles in South Australia that were found to have had their engines modified,” he said.
Search warrants were reportedly executed at several private properties on 15 October. Evidence including documents and files were seized and are now being scrutinized.
Underscoring the gravity and scope of the investigation, Underwood said, is the fact that it includes police agencies from South Australia, New South Wales and Queensland, NHVR investigators from Brisbane and Adelaide, and also VicRoads officers:
“This level of cooperation speaks to the complexity and seriousness of these allegations. This is a timely reminder to all parties in the heavy vehicle supply chain to ensure they take all steps reasonably practicable to ensure they comply with their safety duties to eliminate or minimise public risk.”
Punishment for remapping violations are harsh: up to five years in prison for individuals, and fines of up to $3 million for companies.