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Driving a truck or tow truck

Drivers of trucks and tow trucks  have a number of legal and other responsibilities in providing a safe and effective passenger service. 

Driver responsibilities

Drivers have a number of responsibilities and obligations.

Holding a correct and valid licence

To drive a truck of any kind, you must hold a current and valid licence for the class of truck you are driving. 

Remember to renew your licence and/or endorsements on time (allowing enough time for us to process your renewal before your current licence and/or endorsements expire).

Find out which class of licence you need

Truck drivers

New Zealand has four licence classes for heavy vehicles. You need to hold the right class for the vehicle you drive.  Special vehicle endorsements may also be required for special type vehicles including forklifts, bulldozers and trams and those that run on rollers or self-laying tracks.

More about truck driver licence classes
More about endorsements

Tow-truck (vehicle recovery) drivers

You will need a vehicle recovery (V) endorsement to drive a vehicle in a vehicle recovery service.

Find out about V endorsements

Drivers transporting dangerous or hazardous goods

In most situations you will need a dangerous goods (D) endorsement on your driver licences to transporting dangerous or hazardous goods (including when towing vehicles that are transporting dangerous goods) 

Find out about D endorsements

Being a safe and courteous driver

As a professional driver, you should always:

  • be safe and courteous

  • obey the road rules, most of which are explained in the Road Code, and local bylaws whenever you are driving

  • understand that others make mistakes

  • be tolerant

  • set an example to others.

This also applies away from work.

A number of penalties apply to drivers found to be breaking the traffic rules, including vehicle impoundment, which will affect your ability to work. 

Read the Road code
Find out more about driving offences and penalties  

Work time and logbooks

By law, most truck and tow-truck drivers have a maximum numbers of hours they can work.

Work time and logbook requirements

Being fit for duty

Drivers are responsible for coming to work ‘fit for duty’. Factors that can affect your wellbeing and fitness for work include:

  • having a second job

  • undertaking recreational and sporting activities

  • not having enough sleep

  • experiencing stressful situations

  • consuming alcohol or other drugs and medications

  • coping with the demands of family and relationships

  • experiencing changes to your normal routines

  • issues with your personal health.

Medical and health conditions can also affect the ability to think quickly and clearly.

More information about medical requirements and fitness to drive

Checking vehicles before use

Before you drive any vehicle,  you should do a simple pre-use ‘walk-around’ check.

This will help ensure that the vehicle is safe to operate. It will also enable you to identify the need for, and schedule, repairs and maintenance – reducing the need to deal with unexpected breakdowns. That could also mean long-term savings for your business.

Read our guide to pre-use checks for heavy vehicles

Reporting vehicle faults

Best practice fleet management includes a system for drivers to report any vehicle faults they find, and a process for advising drivers on what happens about the reported faults. Make sure you have a vehicle fault reporting and resolution system in your business.

Identifying and preventing fatigue

Fatigue can be dangerous for drivers, especially people who drive as part of their job. As a driver, you should know how to prevent and manage fatigue. 

Identifying and preventing driver fatigue

Creative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution New Zealand Licence