Truck Driver Information- Classes of Heavy Vehicles

There are a couple of things you need to know when you are entering the road transport industry. For truck drivers, you need to understand your vehicle’s accessibility to roads around the country. The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) monitors these conditions, while looking after the safety, accreditation and compliance of heavy vehicle operations around the country. Getting hr licence isn’t that easy in Australia.

To understand when and where you can driver your truck on public roads, you first need to understand the class of heavy vehicle it belongs to. There are two key types of heavy vehicles identified by the NHVR – General Access Vehicles (GAV) and Restricted Access Vehicles (RAV).

General Access Vehicles (GAV)

GAVs do not require a notice or permit to use the road network as they comply with particular mass and dimension requirements. They are able to drive on any road except where a restriction road sign indicates them otherwise.

Restricted Access Vehicle (RAV)

RAVs are all heavy vehicles that are not GAVs. They require notices or permits to operate on public roads. This includes vehicles with higher mass limits (HML) that can access only certain parts of the road network.

There are three classes of RAV outlined by the NHVR.

Class 1

This class counts for special purpose vehicles, agricultural vehicles, oversize or overmass vehicles. Special purpose vehicles are built for a purpose other than carrying goods, such as a fire truck or crane. An example of an agricultural vehicle would be a tractor, which you may see in farm areas. Prime movers with extendable trailers can count as an oversize or overmass vehicle.

Class 2

The class includes Freight-carrying vehicles (B-doubles, B-triples, Road Trains), buses, vehicle carriers, livestock vehicles, Performance-Base Standards (PBS) vehicles. Generally, freight-carrying vehicles longer than 19 metres will require particular road networks to accommodate its large size. But when this is unavailable, the truck operator may apply for a permit.

Class 3

This class applies to vehicles, together with their load, that do not comply with prescribed mass or dimension requirements. The class however, excludes PBS vehicles or heavy vehicles that can operate under Concessional Mass Limits (CML) or Higher Mass Limits (HML).

Identifying the class of your vehicle is one step towards the safe operation of your trucks. It is important for both truck operators and drivers to understand these requirements to minimise risk and danger on public roads. A good understanding of your compliance obligations is just one way of becoming a skilled and responsible driver.