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VDAM Rule change implemented

The introduction of a small but important change to the Vehicle Dimensions and Mass Rule that has long been of concern to the road transport industry comes into effect from 8 July 2015.

The rule change amendment:

  • sets up a new permit form
  • creates a revised set of weight tolerances and penalties for vehicles operating under a permit and
  • allows existing permits (using the old form) to continue in effect.

Frequently asked questions

View the frequently asked questions and answers [PDF, 113 KB]

View the media release

View the Transport Agency media release

A new permit form

The new form set out in Schedule 3 of the VDAM Rule is quite similar to the 50MAX forms we already have in use – in fact, it borrows a number of features from those permits.

View blank templates and examples of the permits [PDF, 261 KB]

The new permit requirements in the rule can be met by creating a very simple form – there are several options available.

The most critical change for operators is that the current reference to voiding permit if ANY condition is breached will be removed. The transition arrangements (below) make it clear that where an old permit is still in use, that provision no longer has effect.

The form can describe axle weights by using a diagram, a reference to Part A or part B limits (for HPMV), or a conventional table of axle layout and permitted weights – or combine those options. See the examples to see how this could work.

The permit form requires identification of:

  • situations that make the permit invalid
  • critical conditions
  • additional conditions

A permit is invalid when:

  • the vehicle is off-route without authority
  • the permit is altered or
  • the vehicles are not those described on the permit.

Critical conditions are:

  • exceeding the permit gross weight
  • exceeding a design limit such as GVM or
  • breaching a bridge restriction

All other requirements on the form are either described as ‘additional conditions’ (where a breach can be prosecuted by NZ Police) or ‘Notes’ which refer to requirements that are not part of the VDAM system (eg the need to consult KiwiRail for some level crossings where very heavy loads are being transported).

Forms issued after changeover must be in the new format. Updates to the Transport Agency forms are being progressed.

Transition arrangements

Overweight permits that are in existence prior to the new rule changes will continue to be valid until they expire, are revoked, or replaced.  However, any references on existing forms to voiding the permit will not be applicable.

A vehicle using an older permit is also subject to the new weight tolerances and the critical conditions listed in the VDAM Rule.

Changes in penalties

Changes to the Land Transport (Offences and Penalties) Regulations 1999 also come into effect on 8 July 2015.

They include a new $2000 fine for breach of a critical permit condition.

For the heavier HPMV vehicles, this is still a significant reduction in the level of fines payable for minor breaches. For example:

SituationNowPost change

Vehicle carrying indivisible load, permit weight  58 tonnes.

Offence is gross weight measured at 62.10 tonnes

Permit is voided.
Fine for breaching permit $370

PLUS Vehicle overload assessed as 62 tonnes less 44 tonnes (VDAM limit) less tolerance of 1.5 tonnes = 16.5 tonnes over = $10,000

PLUS likely axle fine of up to $5,600 (less if twin steer)

Total about $15,600
MAY incur offloading

Vehicle pays fine for breach of critical condition = $2000

PLUS overload assessed as 62.1 tonnes less 58 tonnes (permit level) = 4.1 tonnes over
= $1650

Total $3650