High ATM trailers

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New Road Vehicle Standards (RVS) legislation for trailers started on 1 July 2021.

Regulating road vehicles is part of how the Australian Government keeps Australians safe on our roads. The new laws will ensure vehicles in the Australian market, including high ATM trailers, are safe, secure and environmentally-friendly.

The Road Vehicle Standards Act 2018 (RVSA) replaced the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989 (MVSA) on 1 July.

The Road Vehicle Standards Rules 2019 are made under the RVSA. Together, they form the Road Vehicle Standards (RVS) legislation.

What has changed for the trailer industry?

Under the RVS legislation, manufacturers and importers of trailers with an aggregate trailer mass (ATM)* of more than 4.5 tonnes (high ATM trailers) can choose between obtaining a vehicle type approval or a concessional Register of Approved Vehicles (RAV) entry approval to allow the vehicle to be provided in Australia.

*ATM = the trailer's total mass when carrying the maximum load recommended by the manufacturer.

Under the MVSA, high ATM trailer manufacturers and importers had to obtain an Identification Plate Approval (IPA) before they could supply new vehicles in Australia.

The two main differences between type approval and concessional RAV entry approval are the number of vehicles allowed and the requirement to have a conformity of production system.

Both vehicle type approval and concessional RAV entry approval applications must include a declaration that the trailer complies (or will comply) with the relevant national road vehicle standards at the time the vehicle is entered onto the RAV. As well as the declaration of compliance, applications will need to provide evidence of compliance with the relevant national road vehicle standards. This information will be collected on Compliance Information (CI) forms in the application.

Vehicle type approval

Applying for a high ATM trailer vehicle type approval will have the same requirements as other vehicle type approvals. However, for high ATM trailers the applicant may choose to use a Model Report to show compliance with the national road vehicle standards, also known as Australian Design Rules (ADRs). Using a Model Report may help meet some of a vehicle type approval holder’s obligations regarding conformity of production and design change control.

Concessional RAV entry approvals

Manufacturers or importers may apply for a concessional RAV entry approval for up to 4 high ATM trailers in a 12-month period. These vehicles will be entered onto the RAV, on behalf of an approval holder, vehicle by vehicle.

Transitional arrangements

A transitional period started on 1 July 2021, where some MVSA arrangements may continue in parallel to the RVSA. This transitional period ends on 30 June 2023.

How do I apply?

Our online IT portal, ROVER, integrates all RVS legislation activities and approvals.

To apply for an approval, you must create an account in ROVER and fill out an online application form. This includes all of the required information, documents and declaration so your application can be assessed.

High ATM trailer specific requirement

In addition to the information collected in the CI form for ADR 38/05, the ROVER system will require a braking calculation report to be attached to the application to support the information in the form. The calculation report must be specific to the variant information included in the CI form and show how the trailer or trailer type meets the requirements of the ADR.

The information in the calculation must be in a format that can be loaded into the ROVER (pdf, jpeg, png or bmp format) and include the fields shown in this ADR 38/05 calculations template . The template has been created based on information already required for an application or variation to an IPA for a high ATM trailer.

Applications demonstrating substantial compliance

If an application includes substantial compliance, it is the applicant’s responsibility to show that the substantial compliance is either minor and/or inconsequential, or complies to an extent that makes it suitable for entry on the RAV.

If the vehicle or vehicle type complies to an extent that makes it suitable for entry on the RAV, information will need to show the vehicle or vehicle type is either covered by:

  • a notice issued by a state regulator or the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator, or
  • an ‘in principle’ support letter issued by a state regulator or the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator.

Complying with your responsibilities

The department monitors and enforces compliance with the RVS legislation. The department encourages voluntary compliance, and undertakes informed risk-based compliance activities to confirm compliance with the RVS legislation.