Heavy tow trucks

Heavy tow trucks that exceed the mass and/or dimension limits of the Heavy Vehicle National Law are Class 3 heavy vehicles and require an access permit to travel in NSW.

Access permits for travel on Roads and Maritime Services managed roads contain access conditions that aim to facilitate efficient access and the quick removal of disabled heavy vehicles and combinations from the road corridor, while also managing the risks to road infrastructure and road safety from the operation of oversize and/or overmass heavy tow trucks on the state road network.

Heavy tow truck permits

Operators can apply for Class 3 heavy tow truck permits in NSW through:

  • The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) for interstate and intrastate travel either online or through an application form
  • Each road manager in NSW for intrastate travel only. Operators can apply for access permits to the Roads and Maritime Special Permits Unit for intrastate travel on the state road network.

Access on Roads and Maritime managed roads

Roads and Maritime is introducing changes in access permit conditions, following consultation with the heavy tow truck industry, from 1 September 2016 for access permits that involve travel on Roads and Maritime managed roads. The key changes to access permits issued from this date include:

  • Maximum length of up to 50 metres, however, a heavy tow truck must only tow a disabled heavy vehicle or combination on the disabled heavy vehicle or combination’s approved route
  • Providing more certainty and flexibility to industry through allowing dual tyre tandem axle drive heavy tow trucks (20 to 22 tonnes) to tow a disabled heavy vehicle an area of a 450 kilometre radius from the point of first towing a disabled heavy vehicle or combination
  • Enabling the quick and efficient removal of disabled heavy vehicles and combinations from the road corridor to which an oversize travel curfew or restriction applies through allowing heavy tow trucks to tow a disabled heavy vehicle or combination either off the road/zone or to a location on the road/zone to which the oversize travel curfew or restriction applies using the shortest practical route.

Please refer to your access permit for the access conditions applicable to your heavy tow truck.

Frequently asked questions

  • There are three options:

    1. Apply for a new access permit through either the NHVR or Roads and Maritime. New access permits issued will include the new conditions.
    2. If you hold an existing NHVR access permit, you may apply to the NHVR for an amendment to include the new conditions in the amended access permit.
    3. Apply for renewal of a current NHVR or Roads and Maritime access permit. New access permits issued will include new conditions. (Note: Renewal applications through the NHVR may only be submitted up to 6 weeks prior to expiration of current permit.).
  • Access permits issued by Roads and Maritime are for a maximum of 12 months. Operators wishing to obtain access permits for up to 3 years need to apply through the NHVR.
  • A heavy tow truck must only tow a disabled heavy vehicle on the disabled heavy vehicle’s approved route. The distance based travel restrictions contained in the below table also apply based on the mass of the rear axle group of the heavy tow truck.

    Rear Axle Group

    Maximum Axle Loads

    Travel Restrictions

    Dual tyre single axle

    up to 10 tonnes

    No travel restrictions.

    Dual tyre tandem axle

    up to 18.5 tonnes

    No travel restrictions.

    Dual tyre tandem axle

    From 18.5 to 20 tonnes

    No travel restrictions.  Maximum speed on restricted bridges 10 km/h.

    Dual tyre tandem axle

    From 20 to 22 tonnes

    May be towed a distance not greater than an area of a 450 kilometre radius from the point of first towing the disabled vehicle or combination. Must not travel across any restricted bridges. 

    Dual tyre tandem axle

    Exceeding 22 tonnes

    May be towed off the road if causing danger to people or property, preventing the safe flow of traffic or where directed by a Police Officer only.  Must not travel across any restricted bridges.

  • Please see the Tow trucks section for more information.
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