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HomeNew ZealandWaka Kotahi expects big improvement in truck handbrake safety testing

Waka Kotahi expects big improvement in truck handbrake safety testing

Semi Truck Speeding on a Highway.

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Waka Kotahi expects new tests on a roller brake machine will greatly improve handbrake assessment.
Photo: 123RF

The Transport Agency is expecting a big improvement in how truck handbrakes are tested.

The agency has been struggling for years with regular certificate of fitness (COF) inspections unable to properly test the handbrakes on at least 50,000 mid-sized trucks.

The handbrakes, called cardan shaft or driveshaft or transmission brakes, [

have failed] in the case of four fatalities in the last decade.

Investigations in 2020 revealed one in eight trucks might roll away, that COF checks were poor at picking up faulty handbrakes and that a basic problem was a great deal of force was required to pull on some handbrakes.

The latest safety alert in July 2022 warns pulling a brake on “may require more force than an operator is used to, especially if they don’t use a vehicle with this type of park brake regularly”.

It warns against adding extra weight to a truck’s load without checking an already engaged handbrake.

Waka Kotahi has now worked out a way to test the handbrakes on a rollerbrake machine usually used for regular brakes.

It is in the middle of a two-month introductory period of the new testing.

The lead-in is to allow vehicle inspectors to get trained and update their processes based on changes in the Heavy Vehicle Brake Test Protocol.

From 1 December, vehicles will have to pass a new test on the roller brake machine for the first time.

“We expect the roller brake test will greatly improve the park brake performance assessment, making sure they’re performing as expected,” it said.

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