SIAM welcomes Higher Axle loads, but demands to address safety concerns

In principle SIAM has supported an increase in axle loads upto the European levels

Dr Abhay Firodia
Dr Abhay Firodia, President, SIAM
Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) has welcomed the notification by the government allowing an increase in the maximum permissible axle load on trucks, claiming as it will improve the efficiency of commercial transport in the country. However SIAM has also expressed it concerns over the safety.

In the absence of adequate enforcement of rated load compliance in the field, SIAM said that prevalent practices of rampant overload could pose serious road safety threats, which may necessitate government issuing suitable advisories for better clarity.

Dr. Abhay Firodia, President, SIAM, said, “Globally, higher axle loads are permitted that enables higher efficiencies in the goods transport industry. Historically in India, we had allowed lower axle loads as well as lower vehicle speeds due to the inability of our road and highway infrastructure. With the modernization of India’s road infrastructure, it is natural for the government to look at higher load carrying capacities in trucks.”

The notification does away with the present CMVR table of tyres & Axle combination against permissible Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW), allowing easier development of new vehicle configurations of different tonnage by the manufacturers as it provides freedom of selection of any combination of tyre & axle within the CMVR permissible dimensions.

The notification, however, also raises some concerns related to safety, applicable date of the change and the readiness of the supply chain. The existing vehicles on the road are not certified for safety with the higher axle loads. Hence, this provision should not allow the existing vehicles with higher loads or else it will tantamount to legalising the wrong practice of overloading of the vehicles. Such overloaded vehicles may or may not be able to meet the mandatory braking & steering performance requirements leading to safety issues on the road. The new norms should be applicable only to the new vehicles which are certified by the test agencies from the safety point of view, Dr. Firodia added.

The vehicles laden with higher loads will also require upgraded tyres and new specifications of the axles for which the supply chain also needs to gear up. And there is no date of implementation mentioned in the notification. As Bharat Stage VI vehicles development is in full swing and many of the OEMs as well as the supply chain would need some time to upgrade product designs and certify these new vehicles, a clear date of implementation of 1st April 2020 aligning with introduction of BS6 vehicles would be more appropriate, said Dr. Firodia.