Everything you need to know about the changes to trailer braking laws in 2015

Mario Colosimo On Monday 13 January 2014, the Federal Government announced a new trailer braking Australian Design Rule, ADR38/04. The rule relates to the kinds of brakes which must be installed on semi-trailers and broadly, relates to a shift towards more advanced and safer brake systems. Freighter General Manager, Mario Colosimo, uses his career-spanning background in trailers, braking and suspension to put together a checklist below of everything you need to know now that the rule has come into effect…


ADR38/04 – What is it?

“As of 1st January 2015, ADR38/04 has come into effect and applies to any new trailers which are manufactured from that date onwards. The new rule mandates the following major changes:

˃ Trailers to have either anti-lock brakes (ABS or 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)

As of 1st January, all new trailers must be fitted with either ABS or EBS brakes or a load proportioning brake system.

As of 1st January, all new trailers must be fitted with either ABS or EBS brakes or a load proportioning brake system.

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 1st January 2015.”

What do you need to do?

“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. 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.

Freighter General Manager, Mario Colosimo, says that an EBS unit,  seen here, provides the greatest level of safety and functionality  at only a marginally greater expense than ABS.

Freighter General Manager, Mario Colosimo, says that an EBS unit, seen here, provides the greatest level of safety and functionality at only a marginally greater expense than ABS.

A brief operators’ guide would be as follows:

˃ Ensure your trailer dealer specifies load proportioning brakes as a minimum when quoting you on new trailers, and

˃ 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.

In conclusion, 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.”

 

GLOSSARY
ABS Anti-Lock Brakes.*
EBS Electronic Braking System, which is similar to ABS, with extra features, including load sensing brakes and roll stability in most cases.*
A Load Proportioning Brake System
(or Load Sensing Brakes)
Is a mechanical or pneumatic system which reduces the braking effort when the trailer is partially laden or unladen.
These brake technologies are designed to improved directional stability under heavy braking.

*Both ABS and EBS Trailer Braking Systems are based on pneumatic valves with some electronic control, so both require electric power. This comes from the truck, through the ABS or EBS socket. If the truck does not have ABS or EBS, the trailer ABS or EBS system will operate as a simple pneumatic system. Apart from some specially permitted applications, it is allowable to tow trailers fitted with ABS and EBS behind non ABS/EBS trucks.

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