NATIONAL rules to clarify the current requirement for “pedestrian-friendly” bull bars on new vehicles are outlined in a proposal submitted by the National Transport Commission (NTC) for public consultation.
“Sharp edges can cause serious injuries and bull bars which raise the height of the vehicle’s front section can ‘catch’ pedestrians, with horrific results,” NTC Senior Manager-Safety Dr Jeff Potter said.
“The amended standard will ensure bull bar designs minimise frontal impact damage to the vehicle and help reduce pedestrian injuries at the same time.”
On average at least 29 pedestrians are killed each year in collisions with bull bar equipped vehicles.
The current Australian Vehicle Standards Rule (AVSR) 30 requires a bull bar — or other ‘objects’ such as driving lights or winches — to be designed and fitted in a way which “minimises the likelihood of injury to a person in contact with the vehicle”.
This rule has been subject to differing interpretation.
Following consultation with industry and community groups, the proposal better aligns the AVSR with Australian Standards (AS) 4876.1 and current regulations in New South Wales.
This requires bull bar manufacturers to replicate the design profile of the vehicle, but excludes expensive laboratory impact tests.
The proposed rule will apply to all new vehicles, including 4WDs and light commercial vehicles, under 3.5 tonnes GVM from 1 January 2010. It will not apply to vehicles built before this date.
“Most vehicle accessory manufacturers already comply with similar regulations in New South Wales so the new rule will have little impact on their business,” Dr Potter added.
“Other companies would need to review their product designs before the regulation is introduced in 2010.”
The AVSR Amendment Package also extends existing regulations for the fitment of alternative fuel systems to Compressed Natural Gas (CNG).
Other proposed changes include clarifications and ‘house-keeping’ amendments covering windscreens, axle load-sharing, parking brake performance, LPG fuel labelling and drawbar couplings.
You can download a copy of the AVSR Amendment Package 2008 here: http://www.ntc.gov.au/ViewPage.aspx?page=A02215508300830020