Frequently Asked Questions - Vehicle standards

The questions and responses on this page have been identified through stakeholder engagement with industry, local government agencies and representatives throughout all states and territories, and reflected the agreed position at the time of writing. For further advice and information please contact us.

The Commonwealth is responsible for the Australian Design Rules and announced that from 1 July 2013 all new heavy vehicle models and from 1 January 2015 all heavy vehicles, must have ABS.

The mandating of Electronic Stability Control on new vehicles will follow the above reform however introduction dates for these requirements have not been set and the proposals may yet change.

The current emissions standards reflect Australia's commitment to harmonise with the vehicle standards developed by the United Nations. The next phase of this alignment commenced in November 2013, with the introduction of stringent Euro V emission standards for light vehicles, which includes cars and light commercial vehicles.

There are at present no timelines in regards to when the Commonwealth may introduce Euro VI requirements.

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) must have regard to vehicle standards guidelines in deciding whether to grant a vehicle standards exemption permit or notice.

The Approved Guidelines for Granting Vehicle Standards Exemptions (PDF, 364KB) outlines what the NHVR requires to be satisfied that the use of heavy vehicles operating under an vehicle standards exemption permit or notice does not pose a significant safety risk. It also provides guidance on the policies and processes used by the NHVR and the factors considered in making a decision on the grant of a vehicle standards exemption.

The Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development (Commonwealth) requires that operators obtain in-principle support from the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) to approve the importation of Special Purpose Vehicles (SPV) such as cranes and mobile machinery, for registration and access to the road network. This seeks to prevent the importation of vehicles that won't be granted registration and access.

In-principle support applications are to be made to the NHVR. The NHVR will then consult with jurisdictions to confirm registration and access to the road and then issue In-principle Support. Following confirmation of the vehicle's details through a supervised weigh, the In-Principle Support application will then be used to issue a vehicle standards exemption permit.


The NHVR Code of Practice for the Approval of Heavy Vehicle Modifications (PDF, 655KB) is the approved standard for making and approving heavy vehicle modifications. This includes issue of certificates of modification and modification plates and affixing them to heavy vehicles.

The National Heavy Vehicle Inspection Manual (NHVIM) provides authorised officers and industry with consistent criteria for heavy vehicle inspections.

The NHVIM details practical information about wear, damage or change to important systems regarding vehicle in-service inspections for owners, operators and administrators in each state and territory. The use of the NHVIM will ensure a nationally consistent approach to improve vehicle standards compliance and help reduce vehicle downtime.



Approval of heavy vehicle modifications within the NHVR Code of Practice for the Approval of Heavy Vehicle Modifications (PDF, 655KB) will continue to be through approved vehicle examiners.

Modifications outside the Code will be on application to the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator. When applying you will need to provide details of the modification required, including technical descriptions to assist in assessing the application including the reason for the modification and how the vehicle will be able to operate safely.

Further information and the modification application form can be found on the Vehicle standards Application process and forms page.