Overheight vehicles

Is your vehicle overheight?

A vehicle is overheight if, together with its load, it is more than 4.3 metres high. Special conditions apply to overheight vehicles in NSW. Know the height of your vehicle by itself as well as with its load before you leave the depot.

Vehicles travelling illegally overheight on NSW roads, bridges and tunnels pose a severe risk to motorist and heavy vehicle driver safety, in addition to threatening the protection of road assets.

Please ensure that you are on the right route, and know the height of your vehicle - if in doubt, double-check.

What is an overheight vehicle?

The Road Transport Vehicle (Registration) Regulation 2007 limits the overall dimensions of vehicles, including width, height and length, and some internal dimensions.

The statutory height limit for general access vehicles is 4.3 metres. This allows vehicles 4.3m and under unrestricted access to the road network. Remember however that some over-road structures (eg cables, bridges, railway overpasses, tunnels etc) may be less than 4.3m high, so always watch for signs indicating the height of structures over the road.

Vehicles more than 4.3m high are overheight and subject to special conditions.

Diagram: heights and requirements 

Permits

Vehicles between 4.3m and 4.6m high

You do not need a specific permit. However you must carry a copy of the current 4.6 Metre High Vehicle Notice in the cab of your vehicle at all times. The Notice can be downloaded from box at the bottom of this page.

In addition:

  • You must only travel on designated 4.6m high restricted access vehicle routes. See Restricted Access Vehicle (RAV) maps to view and print the maps.
  • You must comply with all of the conditions in the current 4.6 Metre High Vehicle Notice.
  • Penalties apply if you do not comply with these requirements – see  the Penalties section, below.

Vehicles more than 4.6m high

Vehicles over 4.6 metres high are subject to more conditions and restrictions. If your vehicle, together with its load, is more than 4.6m high:

  • You must apply for a specific permit. Applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis, and fees apply. Contact Roads and Maritime Services ’s Permit Unit on 1300 656 371.
  • If you are granted a permit, you must comply with all the permit conditions, including the routes and times you may drive the vehicle, and any requirements for pilot or escort vehicles.
  • Penalties apply if you do not comply with these requirements – see the Penalties section, below.

Designated overheight vehicle routes

Overheight vehicles may only travel on designated routes. These are shown on the Restricted Access Vehicle (RAV) maps.

Plan your route carefully

Check the RAV maps carefully to plan your route before you begin your journey. Don’t rely on memory or what your colleagues tell you – it is your responsibility to ensure you’re on an approved route at all times.

Even if your vehicle fits under an over-road structure, it doesn’t mean you can use that road – it may not be on a designated restricted access route.

If your vehicle and load is over 4.6m high and you’ve been issued with a specific permit, make sure you do not deviate from the route specified in that permit.

RAV maps

The Restricted Access Vehicle (RAV) maps provide details on the roads and zones approved for:

  • B-Doubles  (19m B-Doubles operating at full axle loads, ie 55.5t, 23m B-Doubles, 25/26m B-Doubles up to 62.5t)
  • 4.6 Metre High Vehicles
  • Road Trains

The RAV maps are updated every three months to take into account changing road conditions. You should check the RAV maps regularly to make sure you have the most up-to-date version.

Driving overheight vehicles in Sydney

There are 22 tunnels in NSW, including eight motorway tunnels in Sydney. Tunnels are marked on the Restricted Access Vehicle (RAV) maps.

Truck driving under low clearance bridge

Clearance signs and advance warnings

Over-road structures with reduced height clearance are clearly sign-posted, showing the height of the structure in metres. Signs may include flashing lights and a detour route for overheight vehicles.

You must not drive past a clearance sign if your vehicle or any vehicle connected to it, including any load, is higher than the height indicated on the sign. See Penalties for more information.

Also remember that even if your vehicle and its load is lower than the clearance sign, if it’s more than 4.3m high you must not proceed unless you’re travelling on a designated 4.6m high restricted access route.

Advance protective barriers and warnings

In some locations, advance protective barriers such as 'dangle bars' are in use to warn you that your vehicle will not fit under a structure or tunnel ahead. 
Variable message signs on the roadside may also be used to advise overheight vehicles to use an alternate route.

Your responsibilities

If you are driving an overheight vehicle, you have extra responsibilities on NSW roads. Your vehicle could have a huge impact on other drivers and the maintenance of our bridges, tunnels and roads if something goes wrong.

  • Know the height of your vehicle, by itself as well as with its load before you leave the depot.
  • Plan your route carefully. Make sure you only travel on authorised routes. 
  • Check conditions on the route. Consider using routes free from road closures or road works if possible. For information on current road conditions, visit the Live Traffic NSW website.

Everyone’s responsibilities

Under chain of responsibility legislation, all parties in the supply chain must take positive steps to prevent a breach of road transport laws, including fatigue, speed, mass, dimension and load restraint laws. All those with responsibility for activities that affect compliance with road transport laws may be held legally accountable if they do not meet their obligations. For more information, see The chain of responsibility.

Penalties

Heavy penalties apply if you don’t comply with the requirements for overheight vehicles.
From 1 August 2010, drivers who proceed past a clearance sign with a vehicle or load that exceeds the clearance are subject to an on-the-spot fine of $2052* and six demerit points*.

In addition, NSW courts may apply fines of up to $3,300* if your vehicle is detected off-route, or you do not comply with the conditions on the current 4.6 Metre High Vehicle Notice or a specific permit issued for a vehicle more than 4.6m high, for example driving at the wrong time or without the specified pilot or escort vehicle.

These penalties have been increased to match the severe risk that driving illegally overheight poses to other road users and road assets.

Any infringement will be placed on your driving record, and could make it more difficult for you to find work in the future. You and/or your employer may face higher insurance premiums, and you may have to contribute to the cost of repairing any damage to the road, tunnel or bridge you and your vehicle caused.

Everyone in the supply chain may also be subject to penalties under chain of responsibility legislation if they do not meet their obligations.

* Subject to change. You can check current penalties by searching the demerit points database.