Freighter boss highlights new trailer brake rules

Equipment made after January 1 must be compliant with ADR38/04

Freighter boss highlights new trailer brake rules
Mario Colosimo backs new trailer brake rules


The entry into force this month of new trailer braking rules has sparked an alert from the boss of Freighter.

The call comes almost a year after the Federal Government announced the new Australian Design Rule, ADR38/04.

This covers the kinds of brakes that must be installed on semi-trailers and, broadly, relates to a shift towards more advanced and safer brake systems, Mario Colosimo, general manager of MaxiTrans firm Freighter, says.

In force from January 1 the new rule mandates the following major changes:

trailers to have either anti-lock brakes − anti-lock braking system (ABS) or electronic braking system (EBS)  − or a load-proportioning brake system

a trailer with anti-lock brakes (ABS or EBS) must have automatically adjusting brakes (which means either disc brakes, or drum brakes with automatic slack adjusters)

trailers with anti-lock brakes (ABS or EBS) will need to have 2 axles sensed on a tri-axle group.

There are exemptions for road train dollies, trailers with high tare weight, rows-of-eight bogies and trailers with an axle group of five or more axles. However, all trailers capable of towing another trailer must have a minimum of an ABS/EBS-ready cable with plugs front and rear.

There is no requirement for any changes to be made to any trailers purchased or delivered prior to 2015.

The truck is not being left behind with these changes either. ADR35 is also being updated, with ABS being mandated on all prime movers manufactured after January 1.

"In short, the change shouldn’t require too much to be done at all by operators, as your trailer dealer should be able to provide you with all the necessary information you need when buying new trailers," Colosimo says.

"However, it is certainly helpful to arm yourself with the knowledge of the rule so that you know you are buying equipment which is compliant with national law."

A brief operators’ guide would be to:

ensure your trailer dealer specifies load proportioning brakes as a minimum when quoting you on new trailers

ensure that, where fitted, ABS/EBS is switched on and functioning when the trailers are in operation, to receive the benefits of the new technology.

Colosimo reckons ADR38/04 will have a small but important impact on the transport industry, creating a mandatory shift towards more advanced and safer braking systems.

"It’s an important step towards greater safety for all road users," he says.

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