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  1. Scope
  2. Introduction
  3. The Applicable ADRs
  4. The Purpose of this Bulletin
  5. Record Keeping
  6. Conditions Relating to Non-Complying Road Trailers/a>
  7. Vehicle Plate
  8. Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
  9. Registration
  10. Responsibility for Safety

1. Scope

This Vehicle Standards Bulletin applies to road trailers including new trailers or used imported trailers with an aggregate trailer mass (ATM) of 4.5 tonnes (4,500kg) or less.

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2. Introduction

Before a road trailer can be registered for the first time in Australia or used on a public road, it must meet the requirements of the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989 (the Act). The Act applies to all new and used imported vehicles.

The Australian and State and Territory Governments jointly maintain a federal system for regulating supply to the market of road vehicles. The system establishes national design and performance standards for vehicles. These standards are known as Australian Design Rules (the ADRs). Amongst other matters, the ADRs are designed to make vehicles safe for use on the road.

The Australian Government maintains jurisdiction over road vehicles up to the point of first supply to the Australian market (i.e. manufacture or importation). Once a vehicle has been supplied to the market, it is in-service. State and Territory Governments are responsible for continued regulation after this point (e.g. vehicle registration, roadworthiness and the approval of modifications to vehicles in-service).

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3. The Applicable ADRs

A range of ADRs apply to road trailers. Depending on the type of trailer, these ADRs can include: ADR 1,6,13,23,38,42,43,44,45,47,48,49,51,61,62,63 and 74. Topics include mechanical connections, lamps, reflex reflectors, tyres, brakes, trailer dimensions and trailer markings.

A detailed summary is available from the Departments website, at http://www.infrastructure.gov.au/roads/motor/design/adr_online.aspx

Copies of the ADRs are available from the Departments website, at http://www.infrastructure.gov.au/roads/motor/design/adr_online.aspx

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4. The Purpose of this Bulletin

This Vehicle Standards Bulletin establishes a set of design and construction standards for road trailers (with an ATM of 4.5 tonnes or less) that operate as an alternative to the ADRs.

The standards are based on the ADRs but are simpler and more practical to use. They offer a low-cost alternative, by eliminating the need for some of the more expensive forms of vehicle testing and evidence that are required under the ADRs.

In particular, the standards reflect the common requirements of the States and Territories for trailers to be registered for road use. The standards set out concrete guidance and clearly-defined processed that are more suitable for individuals and small firms.

Road trailers that meet the standards of this bulletin do not need to be certified by the Australian Government, and do not need to be issued with an identification plate or a used import plate. That is, manufacturers and importers are exempt from the need to apply to the Australian Government and submit detailed evidence based on the ADRs.

Rather, manufacturers and importers merely need to seek road registration from the relevant State or Territory registering authority. It is the responsibility of the manufacture or importer to ensure that the trailer meets the standards as set out in this bulletin.

In the event that a manufacturer or importer supplies a trailer to the market that does not comply with the requirements of this bulletin, and no other form of approval was obtained for the vehicle, the manufacturer must take all steps possible to rectify the non-compliance. If the non-compliance cannot be rectified, the manufacturer must recall the vehicle from service and take steps to notify relevant Registration Authorities that the vehicle does not comply with the requirements of this bulletin and should not be registered.

In the event that a manufacturer or importer does not comply with these conditions or continues to supply non complying vehicles to the market, the Administrator of vehicle Standards may require that all vehicles supplied by the manufacturer undergo a full compliance process and advise state and territory governments that any vehicles supplied by that manufacturer under VSB1 are not approved for supply to the market.

However if a particular vehicle does not comply with this Bulletin, and if it were made to comply it would not be able to perform the function to which it was designed to perform. Manufacturers may apply for approval to supply vehicles of that type under the provisions of Administrators Circular 0-3-6.

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5. Record Keeping

Whilst manufacturers and importers are exempt from submitting detailed evidence based on the ADRs to the Australian Government, manufacturers and Importers must retain records relating to the manufacture, testing or inspection of road trailers for the life of the model and for a period of 10 years after the last road trailer is supplied to the market.

These records must contain sufficient information to establish compliance with this Vehicle Standards Bulletin (e.g. written confirmation from the State or Territory that the LPG installation meets the requirements for road registration) and in addition, they must also identify any components that may have been fitted to a particular road trailer for the purposes tracing components in the event of a safety related defect recall notice.

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6. Conditions Relating to Non-Complying Road Trailers

If a road trailer does not comply with the requirements of the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989 (the Act) or this bulletin, the manufacturer or importer is required to:

  1. Conduct a safety investigation into the issues surrounding the non-compliance. This investigation shall report on the cause of the non-compliance, the number of road vehicles affected and any other relevant facts or circumstances. This report should then be forwarded to the Administrator of Vehicle Standards within 14 days.
  2. If an issue of non-compliance is detected the manufacturer or importer is to cease supplying the affected vehicles to the market immediately and to notify owners that the vehicle does not comply and should be withdrawn from service until action can be undertaken to correct the non-compliance.
  3. The manufacturer must determine if the non compliance is a safety related issue, in which case a voluntary or mandatory recall is to occur in accordance with the Procedures for the Rectification of Safety Related Defects in Vehicles and Related Products (the Recall Code). In instances where the non compliance is deemed not to be a safety related matter, a manufacturer or importer may utilise a field service campaign to resolve the non-compliance.

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7. Vehicle Plate

Before registration under the terms of this bulletin, the manufacturer or importer must affix a vehicle plate to the trailer.

The vehicle plate is used instead of the identification plate (for new trailers) or used import plate (for used imported trailers). The vehicle plate provides a clear indication to the State and Territory registering authority and to owners and the general public that the trailer is ready for road use. The vehicle plate also provides useful information about the specifications of the trailer.

The vehicle plate must be durable, non-corrosive metal and must be affixed to the vehicle in a position where it may be readily examined.

The vehicle plate must be permanently affixed by pop rivets, hammer drive screws or welding. Affixing plates with adhesives is not acceptable.

The vehicle plate must show at least the following information:

  • Manufacturer's or Importers Name (whichever party takes responsibility for the certification statement);
  • Trailer Model;
  • Vehicle Identification Number (specified in Section 8);
  • Date of Manufacture (month/year, e.g. 02/08);
  • Aggregate Trailer Mass (kg); and
  • The Certification Statement (specified below).

The certification statement for new trailers is:

This trailer was manufactured to comply with the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989.

The certification statement for used imported trailers is:

This trailer is an imported used trailer. It has been modified and assessed as complying with the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989.

This plate may also include additional information such as the tyre placard information (specified in Section 16). All information must be legible and embossed, indented, etched or engraved in letters and numbers not less than 2.5 mm high.

(Refer to ADR 61/02 Clause 8 for further information).

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8. Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)

All trailers must be identified by means of a 17 character Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). The VIN to be used is specified by the International Standards Organisation, known as an ISO VIN. Trailers must be marked with the VIN in accordance with the ADRs.

Some state and territory registering authorities require a VIN to be stamped onto a substantial part of the trailer (i.e. the drawbar) for registration purposes. It is recommended that a secondary VIN be provided, in addition to that specified in Section 7 of this bulletin.

Manufacturers supplying up to 500 trailers per year must obtain their VIN structure from Australian Standards Ltd or their state or territory registration authority.

Where a used imported trailer has a 17 character VIN issued by its original manufacturer, this VIN will be listed on NEVDIS at the time an import approval is issued. If the VIN is something other than a 17 character VIN, an appropriate VIN will be issued by vehicle safety standards and listed on NEVDIS.

Manufacturers supplying more than 500 trailers per year must contact the National Vehicle Identification Coordinator at the NEVDIS Administration Unit on Ph. 02 9218 6546 for information about their VIN structure and about the method of reporting their VINs.

(Refer to ADR 61/02 Clause 5 for further information).

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9. Registration

Registration of trailers remains the responsibility of the State and Territory registration authorities. Trailer manufacturers or importers should consult the relevant authority for the necessary registration procedures, such as inspection.
(Refer to the local registration authority for further information or click here to go to the VSB1 Contact Page).

9.1 Registration Plate (Number Plate)

Provision must be made for mounting of a 372 mm x 136 mm registration plate to the rear of every trailer so that no part of the plate is more than 1300 mm above the ground.

Figure 1

(Refer to ADR 61/02 clause 9 for further information).

9.2 Registration Label Holder

Trailers are required to display a registration label on the left hand side of the trailer. If there is no window in this location (such as would be found on a caravan), a registration label holder must be fitted on the left hand side of the vehicle.

(Refer to ADR 61/02 clause 9.2 for further information).

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10. Responsibility for Safety

Manufacturers and importers should note that they have a responsibility for the overall safety of their trailers. Manufacturers and importers should be aware that the Trade Practices Act 1974 allows for mandatory recall and rectification of vehicles with safety related defects that will or may cause injury. The responsibility for recall lies with the manufacturer or importer, whoever is the supplier (distributor) in Australia.

The procedures for recall are contained in Procedures for the Rectification of Safety Related Defects in Vehicles and Related Products (the Recall Code).

The Recall Code is available at the following website: http://www.infrastructure.gov.au/roads/vehicle_regulation/vehicle/recalls/index.aspx

Alternatively, it is available via a written request made to:-

Department of Infrastructure and Transport
Vehicle Safety Standards
GPO Box 594

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Last Updated: 27 February, 2013