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The Transport Agency suspended Auckland based heavy vehicle specialist certifier (HVSC) Patrick Chu in October 2018, following safety concerns over the certifications issued for several heavy vehicle components.
The latest revocation of certifications for drawbars and drawbeams on heavy vehicles follows a revocation in December 2018 related to towbars on heavy vehicles including small trucks, tipper trucks, motor homes and goods vans.

Revocation of drawbars and drawbeams

A team of senior engineers and experts at the Transport Agency have investigated Mr Chu’s files and discovered certifications were issued for a range of non-compliant works completed on drawbars and drawbeams. 

The engineers that conducted the investigation are:

  • Lincoln Taylor
  • Kelvin Barclay
  • Peter Mathers
  • Robbie Stephen.

The decision to revoke certifications was carefully considered by the team, being mindful of both safety concerns and the impact to the heavy vehicle industry to organise re-certification. For these reasons, several exemptions have been issued.

In addition, the Transport Agency is working closely with heavy vehicle specialist certifiers to provide additional support to the Auckland region.

To recertify a towing connection, you will need to find a HVSC that has ‘HVET’ authorisation.

HVET authorised certifiers list
Patrick Chu safety alerts
Questions and answers related to revocation of certifications issued by Patrick Chu

Exemptions for drawbars and drawbeams

The complexity of the investigation into Mr Chu’s files means that the Transport Agency is not applying a ‘one size fits all’ revocation across the towing connections identified as having issues. For example, some vehicles are not safe for the full period that Mr Chu has certified but can be used safely for a shorter period. For this reason, a range of exemptions up to 12 months in length have been granted. The following may apply:

Drawbars

A. No exemption – the vehicle owner must have the drawbar recertified immediately. The drawbar on a trailer/vehicle may be used for the sole purpose of travelling once for inspection and recertification, so long as the trailer/vehicle is not carrying any load.

Category A process flowchart [PDF, 35 KB]

B. No exemption but eligible to apply for a one-month exemption within two weeks of receiving the revocation letter, provided the vehicle owner confirms when applying that they have checked the component in accordance with the guidance in the safety alert issued by the Transport Agency on 5 April 2019, and there are no signs of cracking or fatigue (and fill out a form and undertake to check it daily). The other conditions of the exemption will include that the drawbar can only tow 75% of its maximum towed mass.

Category B process flowchart [PDF, 133 KB]

C. No exemption but eligible to apply for a three-month exemption within two weeks of receiving the revocation letter, provided the vehicle owner confirms when applying that they have checked the revoked component in accordance with the guidance in the safety alert issued by the Transport Agency on 5 April 2019, and there are no signs of cracking or fatigue. The vehicle owner must also have the component inspected within 21 calendar days by a testing station/original manufacturer/manufacturing certifier/competent person at their regular maintenance workshop and provide the Transport Agency with a completed inspection form (revoked components should be cleaned before inspection).

The other conditions of the exemption will include that:

  • the drawbar can only tow 75% of its maximum towed mass
  • the owner must inspect the component daily or before each use.

Category C process flowchart [PDF, 133 KB]

D. Three-month exemption: An exemption is granted to allow the vehicle to use the drawbar for up to three months before requiring re-certification. This exemption is subject to the conditions set out in the notice that will be sent to you, including:

  • The component must be inspected within 21 calendar days by a testing station/original manufacturer/manufacturing certifier/competent person at their regular maintenance workshop and will advise the Transport Agency of any issues identified (revoked components should be cleaned before inspection).
  •  The drawbar can only tow 75% of its maximum towed mass.
  •  You must inspect the component daily or before each use.

Category D process flowchart [PDF, 130 KB]

E. Six-month exemption: An exemption is granted to allow the vehicle to use the drawbar for up to six-months before requiring re-certification. This exemption is subject to the conditions set out in the notice that will be sent to you, including:

  • The drawbar can only tow 75% of its maximum towed mass.
  •  You must inspect the component daily or before each use.

Category E process flowchart [PDF, 32 KB]

F. Twelve-month exemption: An exemption is granted to allow the vehicle to use the drawbar for up to twelve months before requiring re-certification. This exemption is subject to the conditions set out in the notice that will be sent to you, including:

  • The drawbar can only tow 75% of its maximum towed mass.
  • You must inspect the component daily or before each use.

Category F process flowchart [PDF, 32 KB]

Drawbeams

G. No exemption – you must have the drawbeam recertified immediately. However, an exemption is granted allowing the vehicle to continue to be operated with the drawbeam attached, so long as the vehicle is not used to tow. This exemption expires one year from the date of revocation.

Category G process flowchart [PDF, 118 KB]

H. No exemption but eligible to apply for a one-month exemption within two weeks of receiving the revocation letter, provided the vehicle owner confirms when applying that they have checked the component in accordance with the guidance in the safety alert issued by the Transport Agency on 5 April 2019, and there are no signs of cracking or fatigue (and fill out a form and undertake to check it daily).

The other conditions of the exemption will include that:

  • the drawbar can only tow 75% of its maximum towed mass
  • you must inspect the component daily or before each use.

However, an exemption is granted allowing the vehicle to continue to be operated with the drawbeam fitted, so long as the vehicle is not used to tow. This exemption expires one year from the date of revocation.

Category H process flowchart [PDF, 128 KB]

I. No exemption but eligible to apply for a three-month exemption within two weeks of receiving the revocation letter, provided the vehicle owner confirms when applying that they have checked the component in accordance with the guidance in the safety alert issued by the Transport Agency on 5 April 2019, and there are no signs of cracking or fatigue.

The vehicle owner must also have the component inspected within 21 calendar days by a testing station/original manufacturer/manufacturing certifier/competent person at their regular maintenance workshop and provide the Transport Agency with a completed inspection form (revoked components should be cleaned before inspection).

The other conditions of the exemption will include that:

  • the drawbeam can only tow 75% of its maximum towed mass
  • you must inspect the component daily or before each use.

However, an exemption is granted allowing the vehicle to continue to be operated with the drawbeam fitted, so long as the vehicle is not used to tow. This exemption expires one year from the date of revocation.

Category I process flowchart [PDF, 133 KB]

J. Three-month exemption: An exemption is granted to allow the vehicle to use the drawbeam for up to three months before requiring re-certification. This exemption is subject to the conditions set out in the notice that will be sent to you, including:

  • The component must be inspected within 21 calendar days by a testing station/original manufacturer/manufacturing certifier/competent person at their regular maintenance workshop and will advise the Transport Agency (revoked components should be cleaned before inspection).
  • The drawbeam can only tow 75% of its maximum towed mass.
  • You must inspect the component daily or before each use.

An exemption is also granted allowing the vehicle to continue to be operated with the drawbeam, so long as the vehicle is not used to tow. This exemption expires one year from the date of revocation.

Category J process flowchart [PDF, 131 KB]

K. Six-month exemption: An exemption is granted to allow the vehicle to use the drawbeam for up to six months before requiring re-certification. This exemption is subject to the conditions set out in the notice that will be sent to you, including:

  • The drawbeam can only tow 75% of its maximum towed mass.
  • You must inspect the component daily or before each use.

An exemption is also granted allowing the vehicle to continue to be operated with the drawbeam, so long as the vehicle is not used to tow. This exemption expires one year from the date of revocation.

Category K process flowchart [PDF, 124 KB]

L. Twelve-month exemption: An exemption is granted to allow the vehicle to use the drawbeam for up to twelve months before requiring re-certification. This exemption is subject to the conditions set out in the notice that will be sent to you, including:

  • The drawbeam can only tow 75% of its maximum towed mass.

Category L process flowchart [PDF, 32 KB]

Expiry

If the certification of your drawbar or drawbeam (LT400) is about to expire, or the vehicle is no longer in service, please continue with normal re-certification processes. Please note, you will need to cover any certification costs as you would in the ordinary course, given the expiry of the LT400.

Towbars

An exemption was issued by the Transport Agency to allow vehicles with towbar certifications issued by Mr Chu to continue to be operated with the towbar fitted, so long as the vehicle is not used to tow anything until recertified. The exemption expires on 30 November 2019.

Please note: you must carry any notice of exemption in the vehicle at all times.

Affected vehicle owners are being mailed details of the revocation of certifications of towing connections issued by Mr Chu. You can download the details for towbars from the financial support section of our website. Information regarding drawbars and drawbeams, including relevant letters and forms to download, will be available on our website the week of 8 April.

We encourage you to visit our page ‘Check if you’re affected’ and search your vehicle registration number in the lists provided.

Financial support
Check if you’re affected

Re-certification outcomes

When you have your towing connection recertified, you can expect one of the following three outcomes:

  1. Your towing connection will be recertified for its true remaining life, which may be shorter than the original certification indicated.
  2. You will need strengthening and repair work to your towing connection to enable re-certification for a specified period.
  3. You will need to replace your towing connection.
  4. Your towing connection may have its rating reduced.

Heavy vehicle specialist certifier (HVSC)

HVSCs must hold the appropriate qualification and be appointed by the Transport Agency

The role of an HVSC is to certify certain heavy vehicle components.

This ensures the safety of any modifications to, or new builds of, buses, trucks, trailers or other heavy vehicles. Drawbars, drawbeams and/or towbars fitted to heavy vehicles require certification by an HVSC.

Read the Patrick Chu media releases:

Patrick Chu safety alerts

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