Oversized and overweight vehicles and loads need to follow additional requirements before travelling on our roads.
This is so they can fit on the road safely – for example, get around corners and fit under bridges. The maximum size and weight dimensions for vehicles are set out in the Land Transport Rule: Vehicle Dimensions and Mass 2016. This commonly includes farm vehicles and vehicles used in house relocation.
There are strict controls on the weight and axle loads of vehicles. This is to protect our road network. If, for example, your vehicle exceeds the load limits, you need to apply for an overweight permit before you travel.
Check the permit manual to see if it will qualify for an overweight permit. Not all vehicles qualify – and if the vehicle is too big, you won't be able to use it on New Zealand roads.
An overdimension (or oversize) vehicle or load is one that exceeds one or more of the maximum dimensions allowed for standard vehicles. To drive an overdimension vehicle or load, you need an overdimension permit.
Overdimension vehicles or loads are only allowed to operate on an overdimension permit if they are indivisible. (An indivisible load is a load that without an unreasonable amount of effort or expense, or the risk of damage to the load can't be divided into two or more sections for road transport.) If your load is divisible, see High-productivity motor vehicles below.
Construction machinery that is carried on an overdimension permit should be loaded so it fits within standard dimension limits, if possible.
Check to see if:
The standard dimensions of vehicles, loads and how much loads can overhang are set by law. However, the law also provides for occasions when loads and vehicles exceed the standard limits.
There are four categories of overdimension vehicles and loads. In some cases you must apply to us for an overdimension permit which sets a number of requirements, including:
You may also have to engage one or more suitably qualified load pilots to supervise the journey. There are two classes of load pilots, each requiring different levels of training.
If you want to carry divisible loads, such as logs, milk powder or freight, more productively, you may be able to operate on a high-productivity motor vehicle permit.
We help operators using trucks carrying import/export ISO containers on overweight permits to comply with legislation relating to vehicle rollover risk. These trucks rolling over pose a significant safety risk to road users, including to the drivers of container trucks.
Drivers of heavy vehicles can be registered and approved to self-supervise crossings on certain bridges which would normally be supervised by an engineer – this is called bridge engineering self supervision (BESS).