What is a heavy vehicle traffic offence? This may include speeding, overloading, driving while impaired with fatigue, and more.
Driving a heavy vehicle in New South Wales (NSW) is a significant responsibility. Heavy vehicles, such as trucks and buses, play a vital role in transporting goods and people across the state. However, they can also pose a risk to other road users if not operated safely.
To ensure the safety of all road users, NSW has strict laws and regulations governing the operation of heavy vehicles. These laws cover everything from driver licensing and fatigue management to motor vehicle maintenance and load securement.
What is the HVNL?
The Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) is a crucial piece of legislation in NSW, Australia. It governs the operation of heavy vehicles with a gross vehicle mass (GVM) of more than 4.5 tonnes.
Moreover, the HVNL plays a vital role in ensuring the safety, efficiency, and environmental sustainability of Australia’s heavy vehicle transport industry. These are the HVNL regulations:
Heavy Vehicle Traffic Offence in NSW
In New South Wales (NSW), drivers using heavy vehicles may be subject to severe penalties and demerit points if they are caught committing the offences, particularly on driver fatigue, below:
|Traffic offence||Penalty notice fines||Demerit points|
|Driving a fatigue-regulated heavy vehicle on a road while the person is impaired by fatigue.||$7,580||3|
|If the following drivers (a) works for more than the maximum work time stated in the standard hours (or BFM/AFM/exemption hours) for the period; or (b) rests for less than the minimum rest time stated in the standard hours (or BFM/AFM/exemption hours) for the period:|
– the solo driver of a fatigue-regulated heavy vehicle
– the driver of a fatigue-regulated heavy vehicle who is a party to a two-up driving arrangement
– the solo driver of a fatigue-regulated heavy in any period stated in the Basic Fatigue Management (BFM) hours for the driver
– The driver of a fatigue-regulated heavy vehicle in any period stated in the AFM hours for the driver
– The driver of a fatigue-regulated heavy vehicle operating under a work and rest hours exemption in any period stated in the exemption hours for the exemption.
Common Heavy Vehicle Traffic Offence
Like any other vehicle used in the roads of NSW, there are also other kinds of traffic offence that heavy vehicles may commit:
1. Overweight vehicle offences. It is an offence to load and drive a heavy vehicle with a greater load than it is designed for. This can lead to increased fines and demerit points, as overweight vehicles pose a greater danger to people and public infrastructure.
2. Over-dimension offences. Significant penalties apply if a heavy vehicle is too tall or too long for the road it is driving on, including possible license or registration suspension. Driving a heavy vehicle on a non-approved road can lead to accidents, road obstruction, and damage to public amenity.
3. Speeding offences. Heavy vehicle drivers and operators face increased fines and demerit points for going over the speed limit. Employers, contractors, or operators may also be held responsible if a speeding offence is committed by a driver.
4. Unsafe load securement. Improper load securement can cause loads to shift or fall off, creating hazards for other road users. NSW has laws requiring heavy vehicle operators to secure their loads correctly using appropriate tie-downs and ensuring even distribution.
5. Driving an unroadworthy vehicle. Operating a heavy vehicle with faulty brakes, tires, or other safety-critical components poses a serious risk to road safety. NSW has laws requiring heavy vehicle operators to maintain their vehicles in a roadworthy condition and to have them regularly inspected and serviced.
Other acts of heavy vehicle drivers that are considered as traffic offence:
- Failing to give way to heavy vehicles can lead to serious accidents.
- Using a mobile phone while driving is illegal for all drivers, including heavy vehicle operators. Distracted driving can lead to impaired judgment and reaction time, increasing the risk of accidents.
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a serious offence for all drivers, but it is particularly dangerous for heavy vehicle operators due to the size and weight of their vehicles.
These offences carry substantial fines and penalties, and heavy vehicle drivers and operators need to comply with the Heavy Vehicle National Law to ensure the safety of NSW roads.
Purposes of Heavy Vehicle Regulations
Heavy Vehicle Driver Licensing
In NSW, a person must have a heavy vehicle driver licence to operate a vehicle with a gross vehicle mass (GVM) of over 4.5 tonnes. There are different classes of heavy vehicle licences, each with its own set of requirements.
For example, to obtain a Class C heavy vehicle licence, a person must pass a written test, a practical driving test, and a medical examination. They must also have held a car driver’s licence for at least three years.
Heavy vehicle drivers are at risk of fatigue due to long hours behind the wheel. To address this risk, NSW has strict fatigue management laws. These laws require heavy vehicle drivers to take regular breaks and to limit the number of hours they can drive in a day or week.
Heavy vehicles must be regularly maintained to ensure they are safe to operate. NSW has laws requiring heavy vehicle operators to keep their vehicles in a roadworthy condition. This includes regular inspections and maintenance of brakes, tyres, and other safety-critical components.
Heavy motor vehicles must be properly loaded to prevent loads from shifting or falling off. NSW has laws requiring heavy vehicle operators to secure their loads correctly. The use of appropriate tie-downs and ensuring loads must be evenly distributed.
What Can A Traffic Offence Lawyer Do?
If you have been charged with a heavy vehicle traffic offence or an infringement notice for a traffic offence in NSW, don’t hesitate to contact a traffic offence lawyer today. We can help with serious offences under traffic law matters such as:
- Dangerous driving
- Drink driving offence or drug driving offences
- Police officer disputes
- Driving during a licence disqualification period
Our lawyers at JB Solicitors can provide you with the legal support and guidance you need to navigate the legal process in the settlement and resolution of a traffic offence or traffic infringements. We can also help you get a lesser penalty in case you need to plead guilty under the local or magistrates court.
Contact us today for more information about traffic offences.