Information for heavy vehicle drivers

General heavy motor vehicle definitions and specifications

Axis

Front axis

On a rigid vehicle that has two axle sets and is steered by the front axle set, the front axis is the centre point of the foremost axle.

Front axis

Front axis

Rear axis

Rear axis (RA) is the point at which the vehicle rotates around, during a turn. If the vehicle has only one non-steering axle, then the rear axis (RA) is the centre of that axle.

If the vehicle has a tandem axle set (that is, two axles in a set, with from 1 to 2 metres between axle centres) with only non-steering axles in its rear axle set and each axle has an equal number of tyres on it, then the RA is midway between the centres of the axles.

Tandem rear axle set

Tandem rear axle set

If the vehicle has a tandem axle set with only non-steering axles in its rear axle set and one axle has twice as many tyres on it as the other axle, then the RA is positioned two-thirds of the distance from the lesser-tyred axle towards the greater-tyred axle.

Tandem rear axle set with only non-steering axles, one single and one twin tyred

Tandem rear axle set with only non-steering axles, one single and one twin tyred

If the vehicle has a non-steering tri-axle set in its rear axle set, then the RA is midway between the extreme axles of the set.

Non-steering rear tri-axle set

Non-steering rear tri-axle set

If the vehicle has one steering axle in its rear set and one non-steering axle, the RA is at the non-steering axle.

One steering rear axle and one non-steering rear axle

One steering rear axle and one non-steering rear axle

If the vehicle has one steering axle in its rear set and two non-steering axles, the RA is midway between the extreme non-steering axles of the set.

One steering rear axle and two non-steering axles

One steering rear axle and two non-steering axles

If the vehicle has one or more retracting axles in its rear set and one or more non-retracted axles, the RA is midway between the extreme nonretracted axles of the set.

One or more retracting rear axles and one or more non-retracted axles

One or more retracting rear axles and one or more non-retracted axles

If the vehicle has a quad axle set with steering axles, the rear axis (RA) is shown as below.

Quad axle set-up

Quad axle set-up

Carrier

A person or company carrying either:

  • goods, or
  • paying passengers.

Certifcate of loading

Certificate of loading

This must be attached to the vehicle and displayed so it is readily visible.

The information shown on the loading certificate will include the vehicle's:

  • tare weight (the weight of the vehicle without a load) in kilograms
  • gross vehicle mass (GVM) in kilograms
  • gross combination mass (GCM) in kilograms, if the vehicle has a towing connection
  • seating capacity, if the vehicle is a passenger service vehicle
  • static roll threshold height and weight limits.

Documentation

Heavy vehicles with a windscreen must display a current:

  • warrant of fitness (WoF) or certificate of fitness (CoF) inside the windscreen on the driver's side
  • licence label inside the windscreen on the passenger's side
  • road user charges (RUC) licence (where required) inside the windscreen on the passenger's side
  • loading certificate attached to the vehicle and displayed so it is readily visible.

Heavy vehicles without a windscreen (such as trailers) must display a current:

  • WoF or CoF, either at the rear of the vehicle near the registration plate or on the right-hand side near the back of the vehicle
  • licence label at the rear of the vehicle near the registration plate or on the right-hand side of the vehicle
  • RUC licence (where required) on the front left-hand side of the trailer or inside the passenger's side of the windscreen of the towing vehicle
  • loading certificate, which must be readily visible.

Driver

A person who operates and directs the course of a vehicle.

Goods

Any kind of movable property (including animals and mail).

Goods service

A goods service is:

  • the carrying of goods on a road (whether or not for hire or reward) in or on a motor vehicle with a gross laden weight (GLW) of 6000 kilograms or more, or
  • the letting or hire of a motor vehicle (with a gross laden weight of 6000 kilograms or more) to carry goods, by a person who drives or provides a driver for the vehicle.

The following are not defined as a goods service:

  • a vehicle recovery service
  • a service (carrying goods for personal use) that is not operated for more than seven days in a 12-month period
  • the carrying - in a vehicle, under a passenger service licence - of goods that belong to passengers
  • the carrying - in a passenger service vehicle - of a small amount of goods, on such an infrequent basis that it does not form a significant part of the overall operation
  • any service specified as exempt in the Land Transport Act 1998, or in any regulation or rule made under that act.

Goods service vehicle

Any motor vehicle - except a tractor - designed wholly or mostly to carry goods.

Gross combined weight (GCW)

The sum of the GLWs of the vehicles that make up a combination vehicle.

Gross laden weight (GLW)

The greatest of:

  • any weight specified (following the latest modification, if applicable) as a vehicle's GLW by the vehicle's manufacturer
  • any weight specified as the GLW of a particular vehicle (or a vehicle of its kind) by the NZTA
  • the weight of a vehicle together with any load it is carrying, including any equipment and accessories.

Gross vehicle mass (GVM)

The greater of:

  • the mass specified as the GVM of a particular vehicle by the vehicle's manufacturer
  • the mass specified as the GVM of a particular vehicle (or a vehicle of its kind) by the NZTA.

Gross weight

The weight of a rigid or combination vehicle, together with any load it is carrying (including equipment and accessories).
Note: the gross weight may be calculated by adding the weight on the vehicle's axles or groups of axles.

Heavy motor vehicle

A motor vehicle that has a gross vehicle mass (GVM) exceeding 3500 kilograms.

High productivity motor vehicles

High productivity motor vehicles (HPMVs) are vehicles permitted to carry a divisible load that may be over-length and/or over-weight but not over-width or over-height. More information about HPMVs is set out in Factsheet 13g, High productivity motor vehicles.

Hire/reward

Hire means to employ someone or use something in return for payment.

Reward means any type of payment given or received for a service. The payment doesn't need to be made by the direct recipients of a service, for example, where passengers hire a taxi service to transport them but a third party pays for the service.

Load

Any part of a load (including covers, ropes, ties, blocks, tackles and barrows) or any other equipment used to:

  • secure or contain a load on a vehicle
  • load or unload a vehicle (whether or not there is any other load on the vehicle).

Note: this does not include waste from animals being carried on a vehicle at the time.

Non-pneumatic-tyred vehicles

If you drive a vehicle that has non-pneumatic tyres or is fitted with metal tyres, lugs or cleats, you need approval from the local road controlling authority before you can use it on the road.

Oversize vehicles and loads

Vehicles larger than maximum standard size may be able to operate on roads according to the conditions set out in Factsheet 53, Overdimension vehicles and loads, available here or by calling 0800 699 000.

Large loads need an oversize permit. To obtain an oversize permit, contact the Overdimension Permit Issuing Agency on 0800 OVERSIZE (0800 683 774) or fax 06 953 6313.

Overweight permit

Before an overweight vehicle or load can be used on the road, the driver must obtain an overweight permit, which must be carried in the vehicle. (Size and weight restrictions for different kinds of vehicles are explained later in this section.)

To obtain an overweight permit, contact your nearest Transport Agency office.

Projecting loads

Vehicles may carry loads that are higher, longer or wider than the dimensions of the vehicle itself, provided that the load doesn't exceed the maximum permitted dimensions for that class and type of vehicle, and the vehicle can be moved safely when so loaded. It's the driver's responsibility to ensure the load is properly secured to the vehicle so that the vehicle remains stable at all times.

Loads that overhang the outside of the body or deck of the vehicle by more than 1 metre to the front or rear, or more than 200 millimetres to the left or right side, need to carry special warning devices attached to the overhanging end(s) of the load as follows:

  • During daylight hours, there must be either:
    • a clean white or fluorescent red, orange or yellow flag, at least 400 millimetres by 300 millimetres wide, or
    • a flexible hazard warning panel, at least 400 millimetres long by 300 millimetres wide, showing an orange diagonal stripe (200 millimetres wide) against a yellow/green background, facing forwards or backwards.
Minimum dimensions of hazard warning panels

Minimum dimensions of hazard warning panels

  • During the hours of darkness, the flags or hazard panels must be replaced with lights attached to the load, as follows:
    • for loads over 1 metre wide and extending more than 1 metre from the rear of the vehicle, one red light (facing toward the rear) on each side of the load
    • for loads up to 1 metre wide and extending more than 1 metre from the rear of the vehicle, one red light (facing toward the rear) at the centre of the load
    • for loads over 1 metre wide and extending from the front of the vehicle, one white or amber lamp (facing toward the front) on each side of the load
    • for loads up to 1 metre wide and extending more than 1 metre from the front of the vehicle, one white or amber lamp (facing toward the front) at the centre of the load
    • for loads extending more than 200 millimetres beyond the side of the body of the vehicle, one red lamp (facing towards the rear) on each side of the load at the rear and one white or amber lamp (facing toward the front) on each side of the load at the front.

These lights need to be clearly visible in clear weather at a distance of at least 200 metres during the hours of darkness.

Reflectors

Motor vehicles must be fitted with at least one pair of approved red reflectors at the rear of the vehicle. The reflectors must:

  • measure an area of at least 30 centimetres²
  • be in good condition so light is reflected 1.5 metres from the ground (or within 2.1 metres if 1.5 metres is not practicable), and
  • 150 millimetres from the left and right sides of the vehicle (for a truck or heavy trailer) or as close as practicable to the left and right sides for any other vehicle.

Stability of heavy motor vehicles

When laden or unladen, most goods service vehicles with a maximum gross vehicle mass (GVM) exceeding 12 tonnes must have a static roll threshold (SRT) of at least 0.35 g (where g is the acceleration due to gravity).

Transport service licence

A goods service licence, passenger service licence, rental service licence or vehicle recovery service licence, granted or deemed to be granted under part 4A of the Land Transport Act 1998.

Transport service vehicle

A goods service vehicle, vehicle recovery service vehicle, passenger service vehicle or rental service vehicle.

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Last updated: 26 January 2016