Performance-Based Standards (PBS)

Smart Truck

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Smart Truck/PBS Project

Performance-Based Standards (PBS) offers an alternative regulatory system which allows heavy vehicle combinations to achieve higher productivity and safety through innovative and optimised vehicle designs.
PBS approved vehicles are designed to perform their tasks as productively, safely and sustainably as possible, and to operate on networks that are appropriate for their level of performance. The basic principle of PBS is matching the right vehicles to the right tasks.
The PBS/Smart Truck framework makes provision for vehicles to be assessed according to 16 minimum vehicle performance standards to ensure they are stable on the road and can turn and stop safely. Additionally, there are four infrastructure protection standards.

What are the benefits?


Increased gross combination mass


Increased cubic capacity

Improved productivity and freight efficiency

Innovative and optimized vehicle designs for specific applications


More flexible combination and vehicle design rules


Improved safety and reduced crash rates, More sustainable transportation task

Some considerations for Smart Trucks/PBS

PBS/Smart Trucks are currently allowed to operate as a pilot project in South Africa, under Section 81 of the National Road Traffic Act, 1993 (Abnormal Loads). The PBS/Smart Truck combination can only be authorised by the respective Provincial Department of Transport in the form of a Section 81 Permit.
PBS approvals are for the entire combination – including truck tractor, trailers, tyres amongst other things. If any of these are to be replaced during the life of the combination, they must be replaced with the exact same specification and model or a new application must be completed
Some PBS approvals are for a specific route only, while others may be for certain road types, thus allowing wider usage. This usually depends on the type of PBS units proposed
The PBS/Smart Truck rules document (Click Here – PDF) provides information on the detailed project guidelines and requirements.


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