According to the National Transport Commission (NTC) road rule reforms may generate huge savings and improve road safety. Overhauling the way road rules and vehicles standards are implemented may generate up to $72 million in savings and road safety according to the NTC.
The NTC recently released its report on the process governing road rules and vehicle standards for public consultation and it, details its support for a shift away from current model law approach to the applied law system used in the development of national heavy vehicle regulations.
What does that mean to you? Well under the current method, states and territories draw on a model guide to develop their own laws which means these states can change the model to suit their own specific needs – this according to the NTC leads to problems of inconsistency in the rules which impacts negatively on safety.
Whereas the applied law approach would involve one state or territory implementing a law that others have to implement. The NTC believes this is the better approach because uniform rules will improve road safety and save a lot of money, between $6 million and$72 million. It would involve removing the differences in road rules that exist across borders and having a more unified and standard approach across the country.
At the moment the NTC believes that rule variations can expose road users to added risks when they travel to other states because the laws differ, it may also be problematic for international visitors that travel across the country.
An article on Fullyloaded.com.au explains further:
While saying existing processes have largely produced consistency across the country, the NTC adds that states and territories can introduce new or updated rules at different times across a six-year period.
“Consequently, for example, if a Victorian-licenced driver is driving in Queensland, they may use a different rule to other Queensland drivers and this may result in increased road safety risk,” the NTC says.
Governments will need to weigh up the cost of ditching the model law approach, with the NTC saying it will cost $3 million to implement applied law into parliaments and $8 million to update computer systems and documents.
“There would be other costs for states and territories in using an applied law approach, for example, in replacing signs. However, these costs depend on the final, settled applied law. These costs are identified but not quantified,” the NTC says.
The report states that a national system will allow governments to produce a joint communication campaign, delivering $2 million in savings over 10 years.
Although there are already heavy vehicle standards in place under applied law, the NTC wants this model adopted for all types of vehicles. As the report states, national laws for heavy vehicles may be used as the implementation mechanism for applied laws for all vehicles and if this were to be implemented the host state would be Queensland.
The NTC has indicated that the move over to the new system may take some time as it involves quite an in-depth process including finalising a system of national penalties, the selection of a host jurisdiction to introduce the laws into their state parliament and then time for the other states to enact the law and implement the changes. It would also involve quite an elaborate communications campaign to make all road users aware of the changes.