New bus safety regulations
9 October 2020
The Department of Transport has introduced the Bus Safety Regulations 2020 to reduce red tape and improve the effectiveness of the regulatory requirements.
The previous regulations, Bus Safety Regulations 2010, provided for the safety of bus services in Victoria by giving effect to key provisions of the Bus Safety Act 2009 (BSA).
The Regulations cover:
- bus operations
- vehicle requirements
- accreditation and registration of bus operators – information required and conditions
- safety management systems for accredited operators
- systems for complying with safety duties (Management Information System)
- systems for maintaining safe vehicles (Maintenance Management System)
- exemptions from designated provisions
- inspections and audits of bus operators
- incident reporting and bus incident investigations
- record keeping
The Subordinate Legislation Act 1994 (SLA) provides for the automatic revocation of regulations after 10 years of operation. The Regulations are due to expire on 12 October 2020.
Some of the amendments which have been approved include:
- Improved reporting requirements of bus incidents
- Provide for the waiver or reduction of prescribed fees where there are reasonable grounds to do so
- Permit additional authorised persons to determine the maximum carrying capacity of a bus
- Requirement to display accreditation or registration numbers on buses
- Requirement to record the number of buses in your fleet
We have summarised the changes below. Read the Bus Safety Regulations 2020 in full on the Victorian Legislation website.
Notification of bus incidents
Three categories of reporting and new types of reportable incidents have been added to the revised Regulations:
Category 3 monthly reporting by bus operators will commence on 1 January 2021.
The categories are detailed in full below this table.
A new requirement for operators to display their accreditation or registration number on their buses has been added. The minimum size of the number will be 50mm.
To provide time for the industry to comply with the identification requirement, this requirement will commence on 5 April 2021.
Annual bus inspections
TSV has the power to require a bus operator to have vehicles inspected more frequently than the default annual inspection if TSV considers that it is reasonably necessary or desirable to ensure safety.
The new Regulations require registered operators to keep the following records:
To provide time for registered operators to comply with the new record keeping requirements, this requirement will commence on 5 April 2021.
Under the revised Regulations, accredited operators are required to keep records of buses in the fleet as per the previous regulations.
The Regulations provide that TSV may waive, or refund, any specified prescribed fee payable.
Note: There are no changes to fees.
Maximum number of passengers
Under current regulations, the maximum number of passengers is based on the manufacturer’s specifications or calculated by a licensed bus tester.
The Regulations permit additional authorised persons to determine/calculate the maximum carrying capacity of a bus, including Vehicle Assessment Signatory Scheme (VASS) engineers.
Applications for accreditation
As part of an application for accreditation:
The Regulations now clearly define the following:
Note: There are no substantive changes to bus operator requirements as a result of these amendments.
S.R. No. 102/2020
category 1 incident, in relation to a bus operated by an accredited bus operator or a registered bus operator, means any of the following—
(a) any circumstance, act or omission involving the bus that results in the death of, or serious injury to, any person;
(b) a collision between the bus and any person;
(c) a collision between the bus and any vehicle, infrastructure or other property that results in significant damage to property;
(d) an implosion, explosion or fire;
(e) the bus being in motion while not under the effective control of a driver;
(f) an alleged assault that directly involves the bus driver and has the potential to result in the death of, or serious injury to, any person;
(g) a circumstance where the driver of the bus is in contravention of the bus operator's alcohol and drug management policy;
(h) a terrorist act on or near the bus;
(i) a circumstance where a child is left unattended on the bus at the conclusion of a bus route or service;
(j) a mechanical failure of the bus that has the potential to result in the death of, or serious injury to, any person;
category 2 incident, in relation to a bus operated by an accredited bus operator or a registered bus operator, means any circumstance, act or omission involving the bus, other than an incident that is a category 1 incident, that results in any of the following—
(a) a person requiring immediate treatment as an in-patient in a hospital;
(b) attendance by a police officer or health professional;
(c) a divergence of the bus from a highway;
category 3 incident, in relation to a bus operated by an accredited bus operator or a registered bus operator, means any of the following incidents, other than an incident that is a category 1 or category 2 incident—
(a) an alleged assault that occurs on the bus but does not directly involve the bus driver;
(b) an alleged assault witnessed by the bus driver that occurs in the immediate vicinity of the bus, including at a bus stopping point;
(c) a circumstance involving suspected or attempted self-harm that has the potential to result in the death of, or serious injury to, any person.