Frequently asked questions about vehicle standards.

Can a heavy vehicle, that does not meet vehicle standards nor mass or dimension limits, be used on a closed road without a permit?

Yes, because a closed road, even if it is temporarily closed, is not a considered a “road” under the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL). This means permits are not required for that stretch of road while it is closed.

A road is considered closed if the public cannot actually access it. This could be by a physical barrier or by way of direction from an authorized person who can control public access, such as a traffic controller. A sign by itself advising the road is closed, or an inadequate barrier, may not be enough if the public can still actually access the road (lawfully or not).

One example of this situation would be plant or construction equipment used on roads closed for maintenance. Although these vehicles may not comply with vehicle standards or mass and dimension requirements under the HVNL, no offence would be committed while they remain on the work site.

Once a vehicle leaves the site and travels on a public road, however, an offence is committed unless there is a permit for the vehicle.

(Note that although the HVNL would not apply on the work site, other laws such as workplace health and safety laws would still apply.)

How soon can we expect to see ABS and roll stability systems mandated for all heavy vehicles?

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.

What are In-principle Support Applications used for?

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.

What are the Approved Guidelines for Granting Vehicle Standards Exemptions?

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.

What is the NHVR Code of Practice for the Approval of Heavy Vehicle Modifications?

The NHVR Code of Practice for the Approval of Heavy Vehicle Modifications (PDF, 506KB) 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.

What is the National Heavy Vehicle Inspection Manual?

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.

Who approves modifications to heavy vehicles?

Approval of heavy vehicle modifications within the NHVR Code of Practice for the Approval of Heavy Vehicle Modifications (PDF, 506KB) 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 about modification applications can be found on the Applications page.