The Transportation Agency expects a big improvement in the way truck hand brakes are tested.
The agency has struggled for years with regular Certificate of Fitness (COF) inspections unable to properly test hand brakes on at least 50,000 mid-size trucks.
Hand brakes, called gimbal or gimbals or transmission brakes, [https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/439628/truck-brakes-involved-in-serious-accidents-still-posing-a-problem
have failed] in the case of four deaths over the past decade.
Surveys in 2020 found that one in eight trucks could roll, COF checks were poor at detecting faulty handbrakes, and a core problem was that it took a lot of force to pull on some handbrakes .
The latest safety alert from July 2022 warns that pulling on a brake “may require more force than an operator is accustomed to, especially if they do not regularly use a vehicle with this type of parking brake “.
He cautions against adding extra weight to a truck’s load without checking for an already engaged handbrake.
Waka Kotahi has now found a way to test hand brakes on a roller brake machine typically used for regular brakes.
He is in the middle of a two-month introductory period of the new test.
The introduction is intended to allow vehicle inspectors to train and update their processes based on changes to the heavy vehicle brake test protocol.
From December 1, vehicles will have to pass a new test on the roller brake machine for the first time.
“We expect the roller brake test to significantly improve the performance rating of the parking brakes, ensuring that they work as intended,” he said.