The NHVR has undertaken a number of recent changes to assist drivers and operators during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. This page summarises the evolving changes that have supported the heavy vehicle industry since March 2020.
Some of the key changes which have involved us, include protocols for driver facilities to remain open, mapping of service centres with driver facilities, a new Daily Safety Checklist, waiving amenity restriction on curfew permits, and temporary changes to the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme medical and face-to-face audit requirements.
Like all businesses we are continuing a process of on-going assessment of our capabilities and how we can deliver services. However we will ensure we balance the needs of supporting a safe heavy vehicle industry with the need to conduct your operations and businesses during a time of great uncertainty.
For all the latest updates to the heavy vehicle industry, please visit and bookmark the Coronavirus response page.
Further content on this page
- COVIDSafe plans and work health and safety
- Can we still drive two-up under border restrictions?
- Curfew restrictions lifted
- Operating a truck driver lounge, truck driver room or similar facility at a roadside service centre or service stations
- Are service stations closing their showers and amenities?
- Freeze on fee increases
- NHVAS changes to medical requirements, face-to-face audit requirements and face to face training for fatigue management modules
- Re-registering a NHVAS vehicle in Queensland
- PBS Vehicle Certification and COVID-19
- Roller-brake testing (RBT) calibration relaxed
- Queensland heavy vehicle practical driving tests and free online training
- Are NHVR Safety and Compliance Officers still pulling people over?
- Simple steps to avoid coronavirus?
COVIDSafe plans and work health and safety
Safe Work Australia has information on National COVID-19 Safe Workplace Principles and work health and safety for various industry sectors and the National COVID‑19 Coordination Commission has also developed a Planning tool to help businesses reopen and be COVIDSafe.
Can we still drive two-up under border restrictions?
Two-up driving teams are provided for under the NT, QLD, SA, TAS and WA border restriction exemptions, if they fit in the following exemption category and the two-up operations were in place prior to the commencement of the border restrictions:
- Any person involved in the transport or freight of goods and logistics for goods, into, within and out of states/ territories and practise social distancing wherever possible.
Some states have advised drivers not to carry passengers who aren’t involved in the freight task.
Curfew restrictions lifted
Restrictions lifted on curfew permits in the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria - The NHVR has agreed to waive restrictions on all curfew permits, except those related to safety and access, to move general freight and grocery deliveries. For the transport of freight during curfew hours in Victoria, travel must adhere to requirements specified in this Victorian Ministerial order.
Western Australia confirms they have no curfew restriction in place as per their Public Authorities (Delivery of Goods and Collection of Rubbish and Refuse) Directions.
Northern Territory has lifted all restrictions that limit the hours of operation or times of delivery for food and retail businesses imposed through conditions of Development Permits. For more information see NT Planning response to COVID-19 (PDF, 604KB) and COVID-19 quarantine effect on freight and logistics into the Northern Territory (PDF, 571KB).
Officers have also been advised to apply discretion to heavy vehicles which may be parked near distribution centres and supermarkets, unless the heavy vehicle is posing a safety risk.
Operating a truck driver lounge, truck driver room or similar facility at a roadside service centre or service stations
The National Cabinet agreed to provide a national exemption from the general closure of nonessential services for businesses operating a truck driver lounge, truck driver room or similar facility at a roadside service centre or service stations.
These facilities are authorised to continue providing services to heavy vehicle drivers in need of food, showers, restrooms and a place to break from driving to manage their fatigue under the Heavy Vehicle National Law as per the Federal Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications' Exemption for heavy vehicle drivers to safely manage fatigue from closures of non-essential services.
The following links provide further information on how this is applied in the relevant state or territory and any variations to the national exemption (list to be expanded as we receive advice from jurisdictions):
- New South Wales - Government Gazette of the State of New South Wales Number 72 Saturday, 4 April 2020 for further information see https://preview.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/what-you-can-and-cant-do-under-rules
- Queensland - Truck driver rest facilities Notice
- South Australia - SA Police directions have been updated to include 'Persons who provide transport or freight services into, within and out of South Australia, are able to consume food and beverages on premises commonly known as truck stops or truck driver lounges, provided that the density requirement is complied with.
- Victoria - Directions from Deputy Chief Health Officer (Communicable Disease) in accordance with emergency powers arising from declared state of emergency Restricted Activity Directions (No 2) see Subsection 10 – Food and Activities.
Are service stations closing their showers and amenities?
The NHVR has spoken to major fuel companies and they are currently providing additional cleaning for their facilities and remain operational. Drivers should be aware that most have closed their in-store seating areas.
Drivers should call ahead to ensure other roadhouses and their facilities are open.
Some clear advice from BP Australia in regards to health and safety measures, fuel supply and amenities - https://www.bp.com/en_au/australia/home/media/press-releases/monitor-respond-covid19.html
Freeze on fee increases
The NHVR will freeze fee increases for all NHVR provided services until January 2021.
In past years most of our fees have changed on the first of July, however this freeze is another small way we are looking to assist the heavy vehicle industry during this period.
The freeze will apply to:
- All National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme (NHVAS) module and nominated vehicle fees
- All access permit applications
- Victorian escort services
- A new Written Work Diary
The list of NHVR fees is available at www.nhvr.gov.au/law-policies/fee-schedule
NHVAS changes to medical requirements, face-to-face audit requirements and face to face training for fatigue management modules
The NHVR is providing temporary changes to National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme (NHVAS) medical requirements,face-to-face audit requirements and delivery of face- to-face training for fatigue management modules to reduce the accreditation burden on industry:
These changes are:
- NHVAS and AFM Standards - Temporary change to driver medical requirements (PDF, 154KB) - Heavy vehicle drivers operating under Advanced Fatigue Management (AFM) or Basic Fatigue Management (BFM) accreditations may continue to drive with an expired driver medical, until they can practicably obtain one.
- NHVAS and AFM Business Rules - Temporary change to auditing (PDF, 152KB) - Auditors can undertake all document and records validation and audits remotely, requesting electronic copies be emailed to them, or sent by another suitable method, and can conduct conversations over the phone where applicable.
Temporary change to the delivery of face to face training for NHVAS fatigue management modules
A temporary amendment is currently in place to allow NHVAS fatigue management training modules by Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) to be delivered via video conferencing, due to the requirement of social distancing and restriction related to coronavirus. This applies for NHVR registered RTOs that have approval to deliver NHVAS fatigue management modules TLIF0005 and TLIF0006.
Here is the list of NHVAS approved Registered Training Organisations (RTOs).
The list will be regularly updated to include RTOs that have also been endorsed to deliver training by virtual means where required. This temporary change will remain until 30 September 2020 and will be reassessed as the social distancing and isolation restrictions change.
Re-registering a NHVAS vehicle in Queensland
Transport and Main Roads Queensland has released temporary measures for individuals and businesses that have cancelled their heavy vehicle registration due to financial impacts of COVID-19.
The change will allow operators who have de-registered a Queensland-plated vehicle after 29 January 2020, to re-register the vehicle without a Certificate of Inspection (COI).
This temporary measure will be in place for up to six months after the public health emergency declaration is revoked to support operators looking to re-register vehicles as operations return to normal.
This change also applies to vehicles nominated in the NHVAS maintenance management module if the vehicle has been de-registered after 29 January 2020. The unregistered vehicle will be able to remain under the operator’s accreditation, allowing the operator to re-register the vehicle without requiring a COI.
A nominated unregistered vehicle under these changes will:
- need to be captured under the operator’s vehicle register
- meet all the relevant requirements regards maintenance and servicing
- undergo a pre-start inspection or check by the operator prior to returning to service to ensure it is in a safe and serviceable condition.
Note: If a new vehicle is being added to the maintenance management module, a current COI is required.
PBS Vehicle Certification and COVID-19
Vehicle Certification Rules allow, in some instances, certifiers to engage a third party to conduct the physical inspection on their behalf. Where a third party is used as part of the certification process, the certifier remains responsible for certifications and must be in control of each certification.
The NHVR considers physical inspections carried out by the certifier to be best practice, and acknowledges that there may be some risk in engaging a third party to perform these tasks. Where a third party is engaged to perform the inspection, the certifier must understand that they remain responsible for the certification, just as they would had they carried out the inspection themselves.
Please note: Some insurers require the certifier to be at every certification. Certifiers are encouraged to contact their insurer to ensure they remain covered in the event of a third party inspection.
For more information see Information for PBS Assessors and Certifiers - Vehicle Certification and COVID-19 (PDF, 188KB).
Roller-brake testing (RBT) calibration relaxed
The NHVR has granted a temporary relaxation of calibration requirements for roller-brake testing (RBT) equipment.
The NHVR has updated VSG21 - National roller brake testing procedure (PDF, 229KB) to ensure that ongoing testing is reliable while travel restrictions are in place.
Queensland heavy vehicle practical driving tests and free online training
Heavy vehicle practical driving tests resumed in Queensland on Monday 25 May. Bookings will be prioritised for emergency service drivers and those who had tests cancelled due to COVID-19. For more information go to www.qld.gov.au/transport/covid-19-transport/heavy-vehicle-tests
The Queensland Trucking Association is also offering free online training for COVID-19 Hygiene Awareness for Truck & Delivery Drivers. The free course is a valuable training resource to demonstrate you are taking every precaution to implement COVID-19 hygiene protocols to keep your drivers, delivery sites and the community safe. For more information go to www.qta.com.au/COVID19-Training/
Are NHVR Safety and Compliance Officers still pulling people over?
We are currently maintaining our full service levels including our on-road services.
Our on-road team have been provided with disposable rubber gloves and hand sanitiser to be used when conducting road-side activities to reduce any contact or spread of the virus.
Simple steps to avoid coronavirus?
The NHVR is urging heavy vehicle drivers and operators to take steps to maintain their health and wellbeing while health authorities continually update advice on the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19).
The most important thing you can do to protect yourself, your staff and colleagues is to practice good hygiene, including:
- washing your hands regularly and using hand sanitiser
- keeping work areas, eating surfaces and benches clean
- covering your mouth while coughing or sneezing
- avoiding close contact with anyone who has flu-like symptoms
Operators and drivers should carry additional hand sanitiser.
If you become unwell or suspect you may have symptoms of coronavirus, please seek medical assistance regardless of whether you believe you may have come into contact with someone with the illness.
If you are unwell, regardless of the cause, please stay home.
- You can find more information about coronavirus at https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert
- You can stay up to date on the latest coronavirus news, updates and advice from government agencies across Australia at https://www.australia.gov.au/
For all the latest updates to the heavy vehicle industry, please visit and bookmark the Coronavirus response page.