The introduction of a small but important change to the Vehicle Dimensions and Mass Rule that has long been of concern to the industry came into effect on July 8.
NZ Transport Agency Freight Portfolio Director Harry Wilson says the amendment of the VDAM Rule addresses a seemingly small but critical barrier to the Transport Agency’s goal to move more freight on fewer trucks.
“The amendment to the Rule addresses concerns expressed by the transport industry and truck operators about anomalies which meant that those breaching any one of a range of HPMV permit conditions, regardless of its importance, could incur disproportionately harsh penalties,” says Harry.
He says the changes establish a more balanced scale of penalties for breaches of permit conditions by those operating HPMVs. There will be new graduated offences with appropriate penalties for breaches by permit holders, and increased levels of fines for overweight vehicles if the vehicle doesn’t have a permit.
The rule now distinguishes three ‘critical’ conditions - exceeding the gross weight on the permit, exceed a design limit such as gross vehicle mass, or failing to observe bridge restrictions - as those attracting a higher penalty.
“The process for changing this rule proved to be longer than we had anticipated so we’d like to thank our stakeholders for their patience. It’s important that when we set out to make changes to legislation that we make sure that we get it right,” says Harry.
The amendment to the Rule required corresponding updates to the Offences and Penalties Regulations to be made, and NZ Police to train staff in the new enforcement process before it could come into effect.
A new permit form has been created to meet the Rule requirements, which is very similar to the online permit forms currently in use. The new form includes a description of critical conditions and clarifies when the permit ceases to be valid.
Existing permits continue to be valid until they expire or are replaced.