Truck Dimension Requirements

The Heavy Vehicle National Law (NSW) requirements of Heavy Vehicles in respect of Mass, Dimension and Load Restraint are dealt with under Chapter 4 of the Act from ss. 94 – 115.

The main purpose of this Chapter is broadly stated as being to improve public safety by decreasing risks to public safety caused by excessively loaded or excessively large heavy vehicles and to minimise any adverse impact of excessively loaded or excessively large heavy vehicles on road infrastructure or public amenity

Consequently, breaches of these laws, carry hefty monetary penalties and can often be imposed on not only the driver, but also the registered operator. (see Liability of various parties)

Breaches

The categories of breaches for Dimension requirements are Minor, Substantial and Severe breaches.

Dimension breaches may occur when a load exceeds the approved width, or height or length. Under the

In order to determine the category of breach in respect of a Dimension requirement, s.104 sets out the meaning as follows –

“severe risk breach lower limit” means-

(a) for a particular dimension requirement applying to a heavy vehicle relating to its length-the length equalling the maximum length permitted for the vehicle under the dimension requirement plus 600mm; or

(b) for a particular dimension requirement applying to a heavy vehicle relating to its width-the width equalling the maximum width permitted for the vehicle under the dimension requirement plus 80mm; or

(c) for a particular dimension requirement applying to a heavy vehicle relating to its height-the height equalling the maximum height permitted for the vehicle under the dimension requirement plus 300mm; or

(d) for a particular dimension requirement applying to a heavy vehicle relating to its load projection-the projection of the vehicle’s load equalling the maximum load projection permitted from any side of the vehicle under the dimension requirement plus 80mm.

“substantial risk breach lower limit” means-

(a) for a particular dimension requirement applying to a heavy vehicle relating to its length-the length equalling the maximum length permitted for the vehicle under the dimension requirement plus 350mm; or

(b) for a particular dimension requirement applying to a heavy vehicle relating to its width-the width equalling the maximum width permitted for the vehicle under the dimension requirement plus 40mm; or

(c) for a particular dimension requirement applying to a heavy vehicle relating to its height-the height equalling the maximum height permitted for the vehicle under the dimension requirement plus 150mm; or

(d) for a particular dimension requirement applying to a heavy vehicle relating to its load projection-the projection of the vehicle’s load equalling the maximum load projection permitted from any side of the vehicle under the dimension requirement plus 40mm.

Categories of Breaches

Based on the meaning under s.104, the category of breaches are determined as follows –

Minor Breach (s.105) – This occurs if the subject matter of the contravention is less than the substantial risk breach lower limit requirement.

Substantial Breach (s.106) – A contravention of a dimension requirement applying to a heavy vehicle is a substantial risk breach if the subject matter of the contravention is:

  • (a) equal to or greater than the substantial risk breach lower limit for the requirement; and
  • (b) less than the severe risk breach lower limit for the requirement.

However, despite the above meaning, a minor breach might become a Substantial breach if because of a contravention of the length of the vehicle, it does not carry a sign or warning device, required by national regulations or the load projects in such a way that it is considered dangerous to persons or property. Further, a minor breach becomes a substantial breach if the contravention is a width offence and it happens at night or in hazardous weather conditions causing reduced visibility.

Severe Breach (s.107) – A contravention of a dimension requirement applying to a heavy vehicle is a severe risk breach if the subject matter of the contravention is equal to or greater than the severe risk breach lower limit for the requirement.

However, despite the above meaning, a substantial breach becomes a severe breach if because of a contravention of the length of the vehicle, it does not carry a sign or warning device, required by national regulations or the load projects in such a way that it is considered dangerous to persons or property. Further, a substantial breach becomes a severe breach if the contravention is a width offence and it happens at night or in hazardous weather conditions causing reduced visibility.

Penalties – Breaches of Dimension Requirements

An offence being a Minor Risk Breach carries a maximum penalty of $3,150.00

An offence being a substantial risk breach carries a maximum penalty of $5,250.00 and

An offence being a Severe Risk Breach carries a penalty of $10,490.00

If the vehicle has no passengers or goods, then a flat maximum penalty of $3,150.00

Defences available

At common law, a person charged with offences such as these of strict liability, would have a defence known briefly as an honest and reasonable mistake of fact. Sections 96, 102, 111 & 183 do not permit such defence. However, under the Act there is a statutory defence of what is termed “reasonable steps defence” and each of the above parties, have available to them such defence.

The thrust of the reasonable steps defence is twofold, being, that the defendant:

  • (a) did not know, and could not reasonably be expected to have known, of the contravention, and
  • (b) had taken all reasonable steps to prevent the contravention.

Liability of various parties

In prosecutions for offences of Mass, Dimension or Loading requirements, (cf. ss. 96, 12 & 111) the driver is not the only person whom might be penalised.

Section 183 deals with the liability of various other parties apart from the driver who are considered guilty of the offence. These may be the employer, prime contractor, operator, consignor, packer, loading manager or loader.

It is not uncommon for the prosecuting authority to breach both the driver and the operating company who employs the driver. In those circumstances, the penalties can prove costly.

Have you received a Court Attendance Notice?

Do you need a Lawyer? These offences are looked upon seriously by the Authority and the penalties can be severe.

Please complete the contact form opposite or call us on (02) 9687 3777 and we will gladly assist you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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