Heavy vehicle safety

Here you will find safety guidance material and standards related to heavy vehicles in Western Australia, including safe load restraints, speed limiting, safe use of semi-trailers, compliance inspections, and where to obtain a National Driver Work Diary.

  Permits, accreditation, notices and standards

The Department of Transport administers heavy vehicle legislation and manages driver and vehicle licensing. Main Roads Western Australia (WA) is responsible for managing heavy vehicle access to the State's road network.

When heavy vehicles or single-trailer combinations are operated within the standards for dimensions and mass prescribed by the Road Traffic (Vehicle Standards) Regulations 2002, the vehicle licence issued by the Department of Transport's Driver and Vehicle Services, allows general (as of right) access to Western Australia's state road network.

Heavy vehicles or combinations which do not meet these prescribed standards, plus all combinations with more than one trailer, are called Restricted Access Vehicles (RAVs). In addition to the vehicle licence, these vehicles require a permit from Main Roads Western Australia, which grants access to certain parts of the Western Australia road network under specific operating conditions.

When vehicles are operating under a permit, a copy of the current permit must be carried in the vehicle at all times.

Please visit Main Roads WA website for the following information:

  • Accreditation.
  • Compliance and enforcement.
  • Forms.
  • Heavy vehicle operator updates and information for new truck owners.
  • Performance based standards.
  • Permits.
  • Pilots.
  • Policies.
  • RAV classes.
  • Road curfews.
External Link Main Roads WA
External Link Main Roads WA: Compliance and enforcement, chain of responsibility
External Link Main Roads WA: Registered public weighbridges
Opens in a new window National Transport Commission (NTC): Load restraint guide

  Federal Interstate Registration Scheme (FIRS)

The Federal Interstate Registration Scheme (FIRS) provides for separate licences for rigid motor vehicles (including prime movers) and trailers (including semi trailers).

Vehicles must be engaged solely in hauling between Australian Jurisdictions and cannot engage in hauling between destinations within WA (Intra-state transport).

  National Heavy Vehicle Regulator

The rules and regulations established under the Heavy Vehicle National Law in each participating jurisdiction will be administered by an independent body known as the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR).

The range of services offered by the NHVR will expand as the Heavy Vehicle National Law becomes established in participating states and territories. Ultimately, the NHVR is intended to become a one-stop-shop across Australia (except WA) for all heavy vehicle road transport business with government.

  National Driver Work Diary

For interstate bus and truck drivers only

Do you travel to, or through, South Australia?

In 2008 new nationally consistent Heavy Vehicle Driver Fatigue (HVDF) laws were introduced in South Australia and in all other Australian Jurisdictions (except WA and the ACT).

The Road Traffic (Heavy Vehicle Driver Fatigue) Regulations 2008 set new work and rest limits for heavy vehicle drivers and require better management of driver fatigue. If you drive a heavy vehicle with a gross vehicle mass over 12 tonnes or a bus with more than 12 adult seats including the driver's, and drive to or though South Australia these laws apply to you. The drivers' work/rest details must be recorded in the National Driver Work Diary.

You must fill in a Work Diary unless your journey is within a radius of 100 kilometres from the place of business from which your vehicle normally operates.

Note: If the driver base is not recorded, the driver base will be taken to be the garaged address of the regulated heavy vehicle.

To assist drivers travelling to or through South Australia arrangement has been made for the work diaries to be issued at a number of Western Australian Driver and Vehicle Services Centres.

Where to obtain a National Driver Work Diary

You can obtain the National Driver Work Diary, upon personal attendance, with your valid drivers licence and payment of the required fee, from:

Obtain a National Driver Work Diary

Location Outlet type Address
Albany Driver and Vehicles Services centre 178 Stirling Terrace, Albany WA 6330
Broome Regional Services Kimberley 9 Napier Terrace (Kennedy's Store), Broome WA 6725
Cannington Driver and Vehicle Services centre 18C, 1480 Albany Highway, Cannington WA 6107
Geraldton Driver and Vehicle Services centre 65 Chapman Road, Geraldton WA 6530
Kalgoorlie Driver and Vehicle Services centre 35 Brookman Street, Kalgoorlie WA 6430
Karratha Driver and Vehicle Services centre 3-5 Welcome Road, Karratha WA 6714
Kununurra Driver and Vehicle Services centre Corner Messmate and Bandicoot Drive, Kununurra WA 6743

  Compliance inspections and notices

Compliance with heavy vehicle regulations is assessed by roadside inspections that are carried out by the Main Roads Heavy Vehicle Road Transport Compliance Unit and the WA Police Service.

Vehicles that are not roadworthy are issued with a compliance notice, the vehicle must be submitted for examination or inspection by a Vehicle Examination Centre or Approved Inspection Station.

For more information refer to our web page on compliance notices.

  Heavy vehicle modifications

Information on heavy vehicle modifications is provided in the modify and construct vehicles section of this website.

Go to Modify a heavy vehicle.

  How to nominate a change in heavy vehicle use

Complete the change in heavy vehicle use form below. Please note that the NHVC must be changed prior to the journey. Penalties will apply if a heavy vehicle uses more trailers than the towing vehicle is registered to haul.

Lodge the completed change in heavy vehicle use form either by;

Street address Postal address Telephone Fax Email
In person at your nearest Driver and Vehicle Services Centre or regional agent 1300 223 239 Email
LBU_F_VL_184_HeavyVehicleUse.pdf icon Kb

  Rear marking plates

All vehicles with a gross vehicle mass (GVM) over 12 tonnes and trailers with a gross trailer mass (GTM) over 10 tonnes must be fitted with retro-reflective rear marking plates.

Buses with a gross vehicle mass over 12 tonnes must also be fitted with rear marking plates, but buses fitted with hand grips or similar equipment for standing passengers to hold are exempt from these requirements.

More information is available in the following Commonwealth Vehicle Standards Bulletin:

  • VSB 12 - Rear marking plates

You can download the Vehicle Standards Bulletin from the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development website.

The bulletin explains all the different types of marking plates and how to install them.

External Link Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development: Vehicle Standards Bulletins (VSB)

  Safe use of long semi-trailers

The Department, in conjunction with Main Roads WA, has agreed to allow the conditional licensing and use of long semi-trailers in Western Australia, subject to a number of conditions. Read the industry circular below for information on:

  • General operating conditions.
  • Nationally accepted dimensions for prime movers and trailers.
  • Mass limits.
  • Total mass and load distribution.
LBU_VS_CI_111.pdf icon Kb

  Safely restraining your load

The proper restraint of loads is a vital aspect of heavy vehicle operations. Load restraining devices must be capable of withstanding a multiple of the mass load specific to a particular direction.

For example, the restraints must be able to withstand 0.8 times the mass of the load in the forward direction and the user or operator is free to use any type of restraining system that meets this restraining load specification.

The Load Restraint Guide (available on the National Road Transport Commission's website) provides basic safety principles which should be followed for the safe carriage of loads on road vehicles.

Opens in a new window National Road Transport Commission

  Speed limiting for heavy trucks and buses

You can find information about speed limiting for heavy vehicles in the following Commonwealth Vehicle Standards Bulletin (VSB):

  • VSB 2 - Maximum road speed limiting for heavy trucks and buses.

You can download the Vehicle Standards Bulletin from the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development web site.

This bulletin covers:

  • General information about speed limiting for heavy vehicles.
  • Details about speed limiting by gearing and road speed governors.
  • Maximum road speed capability.
  • Testing and alternative standards.
External Link Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development: Vehicle Standards Bulletins (VSB)

  Tilt trays

Following a number of serious crashes involving tilt tray vehicles, the Department worked with the Towing Industry to address the need for greater awareness by road users of the chisel point at the rear of tilt trays.

This can be achieved by making the rear of a tilt tray vehicle more conspicuous and by providing measures to reduce the risk of serious injury should a collision occur.

A range of regulations are now in place for tilt trays. For instance, reflective tape that is at least 100 mm high must be used on the rear of tilt trays.

You can find out more about the rules and regulations regarding tilt trays in the industry circular below, which includes details about under run protection bars, wheel lifts and making your tilt tray more conspicuous.

LBU_VS_CI_117.pdf icon Kb

  Multi Combination (MC class) vehicle with air suspension systems

For many years both heavy vehicle operators and drivers have raised concerns about the performance of heavily loaded, air suspended long combination vehicles. These concerns have included problems with vehicle handling and in some extreme cases, vehicle roll-overs.

A project was undertaken to gain a better understanding of the undesirable behaviours of certain road train combinations in an attempt to provide practical solutions to either reduce, or eliminate the cause of these behaviours.

The reports from the project are provided below to further advance the knowledge base of the performance of heavily laden, high centre of gravity Multi Combination vehicles.

LBU_R_AirSuspension.pdf icon Kb
LBU_R_AirSuspensionMCVehicles.pdf icon Kb
LBU_R_AirSuspensionMCVehiclesSt1.pdf icon Kb
LBU_R_AirSuspensionMCVehiclesSt2.pdf icon Kb


Page last updated: Wed Sep 14 2016 8:06:39 AM