Risk-based categorisation of offences

Under the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL), fatigue management, and mass, dimension and loading offences are categorised according to the risk they present. The categorisation recognises the potential damage to road infrastructure and that risk to people’s safety increases with the severity of the offence.

Why have risk-based categorisations?

When an authorised officer investigates a possible breach he or she will consider legislated limits, the potential risk to people’s safety as well as the potential for damage to road infrastructure when determining the category of the offence.

Risks are divided into ‘breakpoint’ categories. The category of the breach is proportionate to the severity of the offence. Fatigue management offence risk categories range from ‘minor’ to ‘substantial’, ‘severe’, and ‘critical’.

Mass, dimension and loading offence risk categories range from ‘minor’ to ‘substantial’ and ‘severe’.

Risk categories also determine what powers an authorised officer may use on the road, and the level of penalty that may apply.

Categories of breaches

  • Minor breach – risk of someone gaining a minor unfair commercial advantage over those who operate legally, but no risk to safety or infrastructure.
  • Substantial breach – risk of damage to infrastructure, increasing traffic congestion and unfair competition. It may also involve some risk to safety, although not an appreciable risk.
  • Severe breach – appreciable risk to safety, more severe risk to infrastructure, greater risk of traffic congestion or a greater level of unfair competition.
  • Critical breach – contravention of fatigue regulated maximum work time and/or minimum rest time which would adversely affect the driver’s ability to drive safely.