Information about driving, operating, or managing heavy vehicles in NSW
At Chris Shilling Transport Training we teach people to drive heavy goods vehicles every day, every month, every year, and, during that time, a lot of common questions arise about transport training, heavy goods vehicle and licensing information. To help you, we have compiled an FAQ list for your information. If you would like to learn even more about transport training or licensing information, however, our contact details are at the end of this article.
What is a heavy vehicle?
In Australia, the Heavy Vehicle National Law defines a heavy vehicle as any motor vehicle with a gross vehicle mass (GVM) or aggregate trailer mass (ATM) that is greater than 4.5 tonnes; the GVM of a vehicle is the maximum weight when it is fully loaded, as specified by the vehicle manufacturer.
Which types of heavy vehicles are allowed to operate in New South Wales?
There are two types of heavy vehicles that are allowed to operate within the road network of New South Wales: General Access Vehicles and Restricted Access Vehicles.
General Access Vehicles (GAVs)
These do not require a permit to operate on the road network because they comply with mass and dimension requirements. These vehicles are granted general access to any road in NSW unless a specific road sign says otherwise.
Restricted Access Vehicles (RAVs)
These require a notice or permit to operate on certain parts of the NSW road network. These vehicles are categorised as Class 1, 2 or 3 depending on higher mass limits (HML).
What is a Class 1 heavy vehicle?
There are three types of vehicles under the Class 1 category:
- Special purpose vehicles
- Agricultural vehicles, trailers and equipment
- Oversize Over-mass (OSOM) vehicles.
Special purpose vehicles
A special purpose vehicle is a motor vehicle or trailer built for a purpose not involving carrying goods. Mobile cranes, concrete pumps, drill rigs, and fire trucks are considered special purpose vehicles.
Agricultural vehicles, trailers and equipment
An agricultural vehicle is considered a Class 1 heavy vehicle if it does not comply with a prescribed mass or dimension requirement when fully loaded. Harvesters, tractors, augers, comb trailers and conveyors are some examples of Class 1 agricultural vehicles.
Oversize Over-mass (OSOM) vehicles
An oversize over-mass vehicle is a vehicle that exceeds a prescribed mass or dimension requirement and carries a large indivisible item. OSOM vehicles include prime movers and extendable trailers. In some instances, OSOM vehicles are required to display warning devices such as flags, lights, signs or delineators when operating on the NSW road network.
What is a Class 2 heavy vehicle?
There are five types of vehicles under the Class 2 category:
- Freight-carrying vehicles
- Vehicle carriers
- Livestock vehicles
- Performance-Based Standards (PBS) vehicles.
These motor vehicles are longer than the 19m requirement on specific roads that are capable of handling heavy vehicles. Examples of Class 2 heavy vehicles are B-doubles, B-triples and road trains.
If a bus is between 12.5m and 14.5m, it is considered a Controlled Access Bus under the class 2 heavy vehicle category.
These are vehicles designed and built to load vehicles on more than one deck. Together with its load, a vehicle carrier is longer than 19m or higher than 4.3m.
These motor vehicles are higher than 4.3m and are built to transport cattle, horses, sheep or pigs.
Performance-Based Standards (PBS) vehicles
These motor vehicles are designed to provide higher levels of productivity and safety. PBS vehicles are only allowed to operate on roads that have been deemed suitable for their level of performance.
What is a Class 3 heavy vehicle?
A class 3 heavy vehicle is a motor vehicle that does not comply with prescribed mass or dimension requirements. Examples include a truck and dog trailer combination or B-double or road train transporting a load wider than 2.5m.
Do I need a permit to operate a heavy vehicle in New South Wales?
If a heavy vehicle is beyond the prescribed mass or dimensional limits, the operator will need a permit or notice to gain access to the NSW road network. Class 2 vehicles may even require a permit specifying the routes of operation.
Does a permit allow single or multiple trips?
Permits are issued for a specific type of vehicle and route. While the law allows a maximum of three years, this period may be reduced based on road manager requirements.
What documents do I need to carry while on route?
The driver of a heavy vehicle must carry a copy of the permit at all times. The permit specifies all travel, road and vehicle conditions that must be met while operating on the nominated route. Some jurisdictions may also require other documents to be carried.
Do I need a permit for a light vehicle towing a heavy vehicle?
Let’s say you plan to drive a car that is towing a boat on a trailer. If the trailer is more than 4.5 tonnes, you will need to apply for a Class 3 permit. If the towing vehicle and the towed trailer are less than 4.5 tonnes individually, please contact your state or territory road authority to determine whether a permit is necessary.
What is the speed limit for heavy vehicles in NSW?
Under the road transport law of New South Wales, the maximum speed limit is 100 km/h for vehicles with a Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) of more than 4.5 tonnes.
For certain road conditions such as blind curves, steep descents and winding roads, a speed limit sign may be posted for buses, trucks, road trains, and other heavy vehicles.
Drivers who fail to comply with the speed limit may face harsh penalties such as fines, demerit points, licence suspension, cancellation or disqualification.
As a loading manager, will I be liable if one of my trucks gets flagged for speeding?
Since you do not have any control over goods that leave your property, you won’t be liable for the conduct of your driver, as long as you did not encourage or cause the speeding.
Are trucks allowed to park in residential areas in New South Wales?
According to road laws in NSW, drivers can only park their heavy vehicles in residential areas if they are dropping off or picking up goods, following police directions, or part of a filming project. In addition, heavy vehicles that are entering a local traffic area must obtain an access permit. The NSW Road Rules 2014 also prohibits heavy vehicles from parking in a residential area for more than one hour.
How can transport training help?
Here at Chris Shilling Transport Training, we offer a wide range of courses for truck driving such as:
- Heavy Combination Automatic HC Truck Licence course
- Heavy Combination HC Road Ranger course
- MC Multi Combination Automatic course
- HR Heavy Rigid Training and Assessment.
We also train managers and drivers in transport-related fields, including dangerous goods awareness and licencing, chain of responsibility, and elevated work platform licensing.
Chris Shilling Transport Training can conduct certain onsite courses at your premises if you are located in Newcastle, Port Stephens, Central Coast, Hunter Region, or Mid North Coast. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or phone us on 0434 366 758 for enquiries.