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Heavy vehicle permit application and compliance monitoring changes

Changes to the process for heavy vehicle permits are being made. On 18 December 2018 the process for considering standard permit applications (those operators who apply for permits and have no compliance issues) will extend to 10 days from five. Complex permit applications where there are non-compliance issues to consider will take longer.

The reason for these changes is to ensure that all permit holders are operating under the criteria for which they have been issued a permit, for the safety of all road users.

What is changing?

There are two changes that operators need to be aware of:

1. Strengthening operator screening requirements when applying for heavy vehicle permits

Safety and compliance are minimum requirements for heavy vehicle permit holders. Currently, when an operator first applies for a heavy vehicle permit an ‘operator check’ is undertaken to consider the applicant’s compliance.

This operator check is to be significantly strengthened (see ORS update information above) and will provide a comprehensive understanding of compliance. This includes investigating whether there have been any driver fatigue/distraction issues, road user charges (RUC) evasion and speeding offences. All factors will be considered when allowing entry to the permits’ system.

This change may increase the permit assessment timeframes depending on the review required for each operator. The Transport Agency will take longer to consider cases where there is non-compliance found, and importantly the application will be at risk of being declined in these cases.

Permits will not be issued if non-compliance is considered a safety risk.

2. Introducing active monitoring of current heavy vehicle permit holders

We expect heavy vehicle permit holders to always comply with safety and legal requirements. 

Operators will be closely monitored for any critical permit breaches. Enforcement actions for critical permit breaches may include revoking permits subject to assessment by the Transport Agency.

Operators can expect wider non-compliance factors to be included in future monitoring.

It is our priority in the New Year to engage with industry about a graduated penalty regime for non-compliance by operators who hold heavy vehicle permits. Permit revocations or enforcement actions will be proportionate and will reflect the severity of non-compliance.

Critical breaches of permits – examples

  • Exceeded maximum gross mass limit
  • Exceeded gross weight limit on a bridge
  • Exceeded gross weight limit – bridge (80% to 90% of Class 1)
  • Exceeded 39 tonne – unfit vehicle
  • Caused or required a vehicle to be overloaded
  • Operated truck and simple trailer over 32 tonnes
  • Exceeded the weight limit on a bridge
  • Breached critical condition of high-productivity permit – gross mass
  • Breached critical condition of high-productivity permit – vehicle mass
  • Breached critical condition high-productivity permit – bridge restriction

Heavy vehicle permit compliance – actions taken

All formal actions (including approvals) taken from 1 December 2018 is below and is accurate as at 31 May 2019.

Outcomes Numbers
50MAX approved 2,367
Higher mass approved 3,206
Overdimension permits approved 3,171
HVP operators warned 42
HVP declined applications 6
HVP revoked permits 29

Case review

The changes made to permit compliance are not designed to inhibit heavy vehicle operators, rather they are intended to ensure safer roads and safer travel for those in the vehicles – and we work closely with operators to achieve this.

In late 2018, the Transport Agency took regulatory action against a heavy vehicle operator, due to compliance concerns that included weight and speed offences. As a result, we issued permit revocations and notice of declines for permit applications.

A review process was set up with this operator, and we worked closely with them to achieve a positive outcome for all involved. This included our satisfaction that measures were taken to address issues of non-compliance.

The result was that permits were issued with tailored conditions with a six-month review in place.

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