Operators and drivers - information
Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL)
The HVNL commenced on 10 February 2014, and applies in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory. It replaces corresponding NSW heavy vehicle law.
The HVNL does not apply to:
- Driver licensing
- Safety and traffic management (including speeding offences, drug and alcohol offences and road rules)
- The regulation of dangerous goods vehicles and their drivers
- Vehicle registrations (date to be determined)
- Bus driver authorities and bus operator accreditation.
Based in Brisbane, Queensland, the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) is Australia’s first national, independent Regulator for all vehicles over 4.5 tonnes gross vehicle mass. The NHVR will administer a single national system of laws and regulatory framework for heavy vehicles over 4.5 tonnes Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM). Roads and Maritime Services will provide regulatory services in New South Wales on behalf of the NHVR.
Notices, authorisations and exemptions
Some gazette notices currently in force in NSW have already been remade into new national notices.
Any remaining notices, authorisations or exemptions will be preserved under the HVNL. When the HVNL commences, these notices will still be valid until the stated expiration date or five (5) years after the HVNL commences, whichever comes first.
A full list of new national notices and other remaining notices is available from the NHVR website.
You must ensure that you and your driver(s) are complying with the requirements of the notices, authorisations and exemptions under which the vehicle is operating. This includes any conditions requiring the driver to carry and produce a notice, authority or exemption when requested by an authorised officer.
Drivers do not have to carry copies of new national notices made under the HVNL. For any other remaining notice, the driver only has to carry a copy if this is a condition of the notice itself.
For Class 1 Load Carrying vehicles seeking a permit for travel within NSW:
- If you need a new permit you can apply directly to Roads and Maritime.
- For travel on local roads you will also need to seek the approval of the relevant local Councils. You can find the relevant local Council at the Division of Local Goverment website.
For Class 1 Load Carrying vehicles seeking a permit for travel between NSW and another state you will need to seek a permit directly from NHVR.
Class 1 Agricultural Vehicle, Class 1 Special Purpose Vehicle, Class 2 and Class 3 Vehicles
From 31 July 2019 the following permits will be issued by the NHVR:
- Class 1 Agricultural Vehicles
- Class 1 Special Purpose Vehicles
- Class 2 vehicles
- Class 3 vehicles
Applications will need to be submitted to NHVR.
Intelligent Access Program (IAP)
IAP provides over dimension and restricted access vehicles improved access to the NSW road network. Vehicles enrolled in the IAP are monitored through satellite technology that alerts Roads and Maritime if the vehicle is travelling on a non-approved road. In NSW, enrolment in IAP is mandatory for:
- All vehicles operating under Higher Mass Limits
- B-Triples and AB-Triples
- Quad-Axle Group Permit Scheme
- Level 2 and above Performance Based Standards
- High Risk Mobile Cranes
You can continue to enrol in the IAP, at no cost, via the Roads and Maritime online portal.
Once the monitoring device has been installed in your vehicle or vehicles and you have been issued an IAP Certificate of Enrolment by Roads and Maritime, you must then apply for an IAP permit from the NHVR.
The three current working hour options for fatigue management will remain under the HVNL:
- Standard hours
- Basic fatigue management; and
- Advanced fatigue management (AFM).
If you are driving a fatigue-regulated vehicle, you must comply with the requirements and working hours of the option you are operating under.
In NSW, time spent in the driver’s seat of the vehicle while the engine is running will still count as rest time if the vehicle is stationary and the driver is not under a work demand.
Under the HVNL, if you fail to have your required short rest break while driving under Standard Hours, you have committed an offence. If you couldn’t take your short rest break because you couldn’t find a suitable rest location, you may have a legal defence if you had the short rest break at the next suitable place within 45 minutes.
Roads and Maritime provides an interactive rest area map tool to help you plan rest breaks.
As a vehicle operator, you must join the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme (NHVAS) in order to benefit from the more flexible hours offered under the basic fatigue management and AFM options.
The NHVR is introducing a new Risk Classification System (RCS) approach to assessing entry into AFM accreditation. The approach will commence with a pilot, followed by a review of its effectiveness with reports at 12, 24 and 36 month intervals.
NSW will apply the RCS. The upper limit for work time in a 24 hour period may involve up to a maximum 15.5 hours work time in NSW if appropriate countermeasures are in place.
In exceptional circumstances the NSW Minister may apply either or both of the following conditions:
- Different AFM hours
- Different or additional standards or business rules (or both) to the AFM standards and business rules.
The NSW Minister may also revoke a condition which has been imposed.
Applications for AFM must be submitted to the NHVR.
From 1 July 2018, National Written Work Diaries will be issued by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) instead of Roads and Maritime Services. There is no change to how you will obtain your work diary.
The written work diary may be purchased from any Service NSW Centre.
Diaries can also be purchased from the following NSW Police stations - Ivanhoe, Lord Howe Island, Menindee, Tibooburra and Wanaaring.
Within NSW, heavy vehicle drivers must complete a work diary if travelling outside a 100km radius of their base. If you are a primary producer, or drive for a primary producer; you do not have to fill in a work diary when travelling within a 160km radius of your home base.
If a completed work diary is destroyed, lost or stolen, you must notify the NHVR or Service NSW within two business days, and continue to record driving hours on a supplementary record. You must obtain a replacement diary within seven business days.
National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme (NHVAS)
If you wish to participate in the NHVAS, you must submit your application and payment to the NHVR.
Drivers operating under one of the NHVAS accreditation modules must retain the following documents and produce them when required by an authorised officer:
- A copy of the accreditation certificate
- A document, signed by the operator of the vehicle who holds the accreditation, stating that the driver:
- Is operating under the operator’s heavy vehicle accreditation; and
- Has been inducted into the operator’s relevant management system; and
- Meets the requirements relating to drivers operating under the operator’s heavy vehicle accreditation (if any).
If operating under AFM accreditation, a document stating the AFM hours applying under the accreditation must also be carried by the driver.
NSW Livestock Loading Scheme (NSWLLS)
If you wish to participate in the NSWLLS, you can continue to submit your application and payment to Roads and Maritime.
The scheme provides increased mass limits for livestock loads, and includes measures to minimise road pavement wear, protect vulnerable bridges and reduce the incidence of livestock vehicle rollovers.
Drivers of NSWLLS vehicles must have completed either:
- The new NSWLLS Driver Training Course or
- The Victorian Livestock Loading Scheme (VLLS) Driver Training Course.
You can find out more about the scheme on the NSWLLS page.
On road enforcement
Roads and Maritime authorised officers and NSW Police will enforce the HVNL in the same way they currently enforce road transport law.
Heavy Vehicle Safety Stations will continue to operate under the HVNL.
You must comply with the law and all instructions and directions issued by an authorised officer.
Chain of Responsibility
Chain of Responsibility legislation recognises the effects of the actions, inactions and demands of off-the-road parties in the transport chain. It will continue within NSW under the HVNL.
If you are involved in the road transport supply chain you could be held legally liable for breaches of fatigue, speed, mass, dimension and load restraint laws. Under Chain of Responsibility requirements, you do not have to drive or operate a heavy vehicle to be held accountable for breaches of road transport laws.
To ensure you are able to make all reasonable steps to prevent breaches of road transport laws under Chain of Responsibilities, you should assess your responsibilities under the legislation.
You will find more information on Chain of Responsibility from the NHVR.
Inspections for registration
Inspections for registration must be carried out by a NSW authorised examiner or Roads and Maritime inspectors to ensure that the vehicle complies with the vehicle standards in the HVNL.
Your certificate of registration will show you whether an inspection is required and whether it should be conducted under the Heavy Vehicle Authorised Inspection Scheme (HVAIS) or the Heavy Vehicle Inspection Scheme (HVIS).
Bookings for the HVIS can be made through Roads and Maritime online, by phone on 1300 364 847 or by visiting any registry or service centre.
Under the HVNL, the process for clearing a defect in NSW does not change.
If your vehicle does not meet the required vehicle standards at the time of inspection it will fail. A defect notice will be issued for a failed inspection. An infringement notice may also be issued for presenting a vehicle for inspection with defects.
Your vehicle will not pass a subsequent inspection until the necessary repairs specified on the defect notice have been cleared at a Heavy Vehicle Authorised Inspection Station (HVAIS) or a Heavy Vehicle Inspection Station (HVIS).
On receipt of an electronically transmitted inspection report from an inspection Station, the defect notice will be removed from the vehicle by Roads and Maritime. Alternatively, you must present a hard copy of the inspection report to a registry or service centre so that your registration is not suspended or cancelled for non-clearance of defects.
If you have a defect cleared on your NSW registered vehicle in another state, you no longer have to get it re-inspected in NSW.
You must still provide a hard copy of the inspection report to a Roads and Maritime motor registry or Service NSW Centre to have the defect cleared from the registration register.
If you have an existing exemption permit, there is no need to re-apply under the HVNL. Permits remain valid for up to 3 years from the commencement date of the HVNL while notices remain valid for 5 years or until they naturally expire or the HVNL cancels the exemption.
From 10 February 2014, if you are seeking an exemption from compliance with a heavy vehicle standard, you must apply to the NHVR.
You must meet all the conditions specified in the vehicle standards exemption.
If you are operating a vehicle under an exemption permit, you must produce it on request from an authorised officer. It can be either a hard or electronic copy.
Drivers should always check the conditions of the exemption notice under which the vehicle is operating to determine if they are required to carry a copy of the notice.
Modifications are defined as any alteration to a heavy vehicle, including the addition or removal of components. Under the HVNL, minor modifications, where the vehicle remains compliant with vehicle standards, do not require approval of an approved vehicle examiner or the Regulator. Complex modifications, carried out in accordance with NHVR Code of Practice for the Approval of Heavy Vehicle Modifications, must be approved by an approved vehicle examiner. These are currently certifiers licensed under the Vehicle Safety Compliance Certification Scheme (VSCCS) in NSW. A modification plate must be fixed to the vehicle and a modification certificate issued to the registered operator or owner.
If the modifications carried out on your vehicle are not covered by the NHVR Code of Practice for the Approval of Heavy Vehicle Modifications or cause the vehicle not to comply with a vehicle standard, you will need to apply to the NHVR for approval. You can find out more on the NHVR website.
If you own a NSW registered vehicle which has been modified and have your vehicle modifications approved by an approved vehicle examiner in another state, you don’t need to have it reinspected in NSW.
You must still provide a copy of the inspection report to Roads and Maritime to determine if your registration is affected.
The law and processes for registering heavy vehicles in NSW have not changed under the HVNL:
- You will still require Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurance covering the registration period
- Your vehicle must be inspected by an NSW authorised examiner or Roads and Maritime inspector to ensure that the vehicle complies with the vehicle standards in the HVNL
- You will continue to register your vehicle through any registry or service centre in NSW.
See heavy vehicle registration for more information.
If you are a bus operator or driver in NSW, you will retain the exemptions you currently experience once the HVNL commences.
If the bus you are driving is a fatigue-regulated heavy vehicle, and you are driving the bus for an accredited service operator, you do not need to carry your accreditation details in the following circumstances:
- You are travelling less than 100km from your base; or
- You are providing a regular bus services under a service contract, regardless of distance travelled.
If the bus you are driving is a private hire vehicle or a bus that is a fatigue-regulated heavy vehicle you are exempt from Chapter 6 of the HVNL except for the following:
- You must not drive while impaired by fatigue
- Parties in the chain of responsibility must also ensure that a driver does not drive while impaired by fatigue.
If however, you are providing a public passenger service, you are not exempt from any part of Chapter 6 of the HVNL.
The requirements for school bus lights and signs will remain in NSW under the HVNL.
The following NSW Notices for buses have been transitioned under the HVNL and will continue to apply:
- Ministerial Declaration (Two Axle Bus Mass Exemption) Order 2013
- Class 3 Gas Powered Ultra Low Floor Bus Mass Limit Exemption Notice 2013
- Class 2 Controlled Access Bus Notice 2010
- Class 3 Complying Bus Mass Limit Exemption Notice 2011
- Class 3 Metropolitan High Capacity Bus Mass Limit Exemption Notice 2012
You can find details on the Permit Notices and Ministerial Orders page.