13 June 2024 · Driving Hints & Tips

Driving Change: How Hino Redefined the Road

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It wasn’t too long ago that driving on Australian roads was very different to what it is now. A time where rules were more like suggestions, and seatbelts were merely a luxury, not a necessity.

Today, as we cruise along on smoother, safer roads, it's clear that a major transformation has taken place. But this shift didn't just happen overnight; it's the result of a concerted effort fueled by technological leaps, tougher regulations, and a collective commitment to making our roads safer for everyone.

In this evolving scenario, we have consistently stood out as a leader in the commercial vehicle sector. Since the introduction of the first Hino vehicle to Australia in 1965, we have made safety a cornerstone of our business, leading the way with groundbreaking features that set new standards for the industry, providing unmatched protection for drivers and passengers alike.

Join us, as we rewind the clock and explore how Australia’s highways, with the help of Hino, went from the roads of the past, to the safety-focused thoroughfares of the present day.

The Early Days: Challenges and Beginnings

Trucking in Australia traces its roots back to the early 20th century when the need for efficient transportation became apparent.  But, safety? Well, let's just say it wasn't exactly front and center. In 1970, a staggering 3,798 road crash deaths were recorded – a time where the Australian population was about half that of today but with a road death toll three times higher than in 2022 - It was a wake-up call that spurred action.


Milestones in Safety Regulation

Victoria led the charge by becoming the first jurisdiction worldwide to mandate seatbelt use, a move soon followed by the rest of the country. Initially met with skepticism, the trusty seatbelt straps became indispensable heroes of the road, leading to widespread acceptance and saving countless lives with each "click."

In 1989, another milestone was reached with the Federal mandate of the Third Edition of the Australian Design Rules (ADRs) as the new national standards. With these in place, Australia sent a clear message: safety isn't just a luxury; it's a necessity.


Technological Advancements: A Game Changer

As road safety legislation tightened, and public awareness campaigns intensified, there was a sense that progress was being made in the realm of safety. However, it became clear that safety hadn't yet reached its full potential, as seen by the 736 light-duty truck accidents recorded in 1997.

In 2000, everything changed with the arrival of the first Hino Light duty truck for Australia, the Dutro which included safety innovations previously unseen in the light-duty truck market. The Dutro showcased the most advanced safety features of its era, including the introduction of ventilated Disc brakes and ABS, as well as driver and passenger SRS airbags.

  • How Hino was ahead of its time: ABS brakes only became compulsory for Australian trucks in 2015, while SRS airbags are still not mandatory in trucks over 3.5 ton – despite being a standard feature across the whole Hino range.


Cutting-Edge Solutions

In 2011, we introduced the next generation of the 300 Series, featuring an impressive array of both active and passive safety features. This launch marked an industry first for light-duty trucks in Australia with the introduction of Vehicle Stability Control (VSC); a computerised braking system and engine power management. VSC allows for precise regulation of each wheel, and assists drivers in maintaining vehicle stability and control during operation. The model also included a Front Under-Run Protection System (FUPS) on all wide cabin models for the first time in a light-duty truck, as well as a cab meeting the internationally recognised European Structural Standards Regulation No. 20 (ECE-R29) for cabin strength, further enhancing safety and setting new industry standards.

  • How Hino was ahead of its time: Heavy motor vehicles with a GVM of 14Ton GVM or more and produced after January 2012 are required to be fitted with a Front Underrun Protection Device (FUPD) in accordance with Australian Design Rules, while VSC was only made mandatory in Australia on prime movers & certain Rigid vehicles from 2020, and isn’t a requirement for ALL heavy vehicles until February 2025.


Advanced Driver Assistance Systems

Remaining committed to safety leadership, we responded to these trends, and stepped up with the game-changing innovation of Hino Smart Safe. Initially launched in 2019  with our 500 series standard cab models, setting the pathway for the future of road safety, Hino Smartsafe offers a comprehensive suite of active safety technologies including the Pre-Collision System (PCS), Pedestrian Detection System (PDS), Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS), and more.

Addressing the concerns of driver fatigue and distraction related accidents, Hino have introduced the Driver Monitor system as the latest addition to our SmartSafe package in the 700 Series. Driver Monitor alerts drivers when they show signs of drowsiness or inattention, issuing both audible and visual alerts to enhance driver awareness and mitigate the risk of accidents.


  • How Hino was ahead of its time: While Hino Smartsafe was first released by Hino in 2019, it was a good 5 years later before some of these features have been made mandatory safety specification requirements for heavy trucks in Australia.  The Lane Departure Warning System is only mandated for heavy vehicles requirements from 2027. Electronic Stability control as well as Advanced Emergency Braking are set to become mandatory from Early 2025.


It's truly incredible to think about how far we've come. From the early days of skepticism about seatbelts, to today's sophisticated safety features and regulations, the evolution of road safety has been nothing short of remarkable.

And as these wheels of progress continue to turn, our steadfast dedication to safety sets a commendable standard, fostering a culture of responsibility and protection on Australian roads.