On-road compliance and enforcement

Under the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL), on-road compliance and enforcement covers a broad range of activities including (but not limited to) the:

Heavy vehicle drivers and operators benefit from a greater level of consistency in on-road compliance and enforcement outcomes under the HVNL. For heavy vehicle drivers, no matter who conducts an inspection, or in which state or territory it is conducted, drivers and operators should experience consistent and transparent outcomes from on-road compliance and enforcement activities for:

  • Defective heavy vehicles - a consistent tiered vehicle defect notice categorisation scheme (self-clearing, minor and major) and promoting more standardised defect notices
  • Driver fatigue and the National Driver Work Diary - consistent interpretation and application of driver fatigue and work diary requirements
  • Load restraint - consistent application of the National Transport Commission’s Load Restraint Guide
  • Mass and dimensions - a focus on applying measurement adjustments for all on-road inspections delivering consistent weighing and measuring assessments
  • Restricted access vehicles - uniform, national processes for on-road inspections of Class 1, 2 and 3 vehicles operating under mass or dimensions exemptions (notices or permits

In most states and territories, on-road compliance officers are employed by the state and territory road transport authorities and continue to wear their own state or territory issued uniform while performing functions on behalf of the NHVR. Safety and Compliance Officers in South Australia and Tasmania are employed directly by the NHVR. From 1 July 2019, heavy vehicle on-road compliance and enforcement services in the ACT will also be provided by the NHVR.

State and territory police, and enforcement officers continue to monitor heavy vehicle activities under the HVNL. Police officers also comply with other legislation that regulates their powers and responsibilities and possess additional enforcement powers and responsibilities (such as enforcing road rules).

Matters relating to heavy vehicle registration, inspections, driver licensing and carriage of dangerous goods, remain with the relevant state or territory road transport authority.

National compliance and enforcement policy

This policy outlines the risk-based and outcomes-focused approach adopted by the NHVR and partner agencies when planning and undertaking heavy vehicle related compliance and enforcement activities.

Self-clearing defects

From 1 July 2017, self-clearing defects no longer require an inspection of the vehicle by an approved person for the purpose of having the self-clearing defect notice cleared.

Vehicle defect notice changes

The provisions for a self-clearing defect notice, when added to the HVNL in 2017, were separate from the existing provisions for minor and major defect notices. This approach has caused some operational issues for the NHVR, Authorised Officers and operators.

Amendments that come into effect on 28 February 2020 combine and align the provisions for a self-clearing defect notice with the provisions for minor and major defect notices.

Summary of Changes

Driver obligation when issued a vehicle defect notice

From 28 February 2020, the requirement for the driver of a heavy vehicle who is not the operator, to give the defect notice to the operator, will be the same for all categories of defect notices. The driver must give the defect notice to the operator as soon as practicable, but no more than 14 days, after the notice is issued.

Self-clearing defect notice

From 28 February 2020, a self-clearing defect notice will state the day after which the vehicle must not be used on a road unless the required actions to repair the vehicle have been taken.

Permission to drive

From 28 February 2020, operators can request written permission to use a heavy vehicle, which is the subject of a self-clearing defect notice, on a road. This written permission is similar to the written permission that may currently be given for a heavy vehicle subject of a minor or major defect notice, which are issued for a stated period of time and may be subject to conditions.

Minor and major defect notice

While the HVNL vehicle defect notice provisions have been amended to incorporate a self-clearing defect notice, the requirements relating to the use of a vehicle subject to a minor or major defect notice have not changed.

For more information read Compliance bulletin 4 – Heavy vehicle defects (PDF, 96KB)