Updates to the Heavy vehicle road code

This page lists any updates to The official New Zealand road code for heavy vehicle drivers since the last published edition. These changes will usually have been caused by a legislation change.

The official New Zealand road code for heavy vehicle drivers, 2014/2015 edition was released in July 2014. 

Update February 2017

On 1 February 2017, the Land Transport Rule: Vehicle Dimensions and Mass (VDAM) 2016 comes into effect. The rule sets vehicle size and weight limits, and vehicle configuration requirements, with a focus on heavy vehicles. There are a number of changes from the previous rule which means some updates are required to the heavy vehicle road code.

The table below lists the changes as they affect the heavy vehicle road code. From 1 February 2017, theory tests will include the updated information, and the changes below override the content of the printed and online heavy vehicle road codes.

Further information about VDAM 2016 can be found on the NZ Transport Agency's VDAM: What you need to know page.

Subject/section and page/link Description


Page 16, and

(New) Specialist over dimensional motor vehicle means a motor vehicle that is designed for a primary purpose of carrying out a specialist function that requires over dimension equipment (not to transport overdimension or overweight loads).

Minimum dimensions of hazard warning panels
Page 51

A flexible frangible hazard warning panel, at least 400mm long by 300mm wide, showing an orange diagonal stripe (200mm wide) against a yellow/green background, facing forwards or backwards.

Note: Frangible means breakable or readily deformable.


Throughout the road code

Where a vehicle height limit is specified as 4.25 metres (excluding load securing devices), this has changed to 4.3 metres (including load securing devices)


Throughout the road code

Where a vehicle width limit is shown as 2.5 metres (excluding load securing devices), this has changed to 2.55 metres or 1.275 metres from each side of the longitudinal centre line of the vehicle (including load securing devices)

Extra width allowance
Page 55, and

The only extra width allowed is:

  1. side marker lamps and direction indicators
  2. collapsible mirrors that extend not more than:
    1. 240mm beyond the side of a vehicle or its trailer; and
    2. 1.49m when measured from a vehicle’s longitudinal centre-line
  3. central tyre inflation system hoses that extend not more than 75mm beyond the outside of the tyre on the drive axles of a heavy motor vehicle
  4. a hubodometer that extends not more than 50mm beyond one side of a vehicle from a non-lifting, non-steering axle whose outer casings are of a light colour, provided the hubodometer is fitted on the axle that causes the least overwidth
  5. cab exterior grabrails that extend not more than 1.325m when measured from a vehicle’s longitudinal centre-line
  6. the bulge towards the bottom of a tyre
  7. trolley bus poles and their safety cables, when extended to collect electric power from overhead conducting wires, provided there is a 2.5m ground clearance outside the body of a bus
  8. cameras or close-proximity monitoring systems mounted on the side exterior of a vehicle that extends not more than 70mm from the side wall of the vehicle
  9. devices for improving the aerodynamic performance of a vehicle that extend not more than 25mm from either side of a vehicle.

Maximum allowable mass on axle sets

Pages 56-57, and

  • (New) Single mega-tyred axle means a single tyred axle where the manufacturers designated tyre section width is 444mm or more
  • (Amended) Single standard-tyred axle means a single–tyred axle where the manufacturer’s designated tyre section width is less than 355mm
  • (Amended) Single large–tyred axle set means a single–tyred axle where the manufacturer’s designated tyre section width is at least 355mm but less than 444mm

(Amended) Where the distance between centre of first axle to centre of last axle is 1.8 metres or more, but less than 2.5 metres, the maximum gross weight has changed from 15,500kg to 16,000kg

Note: all weights in kilograms

Single axle set

Tandem axle set

Tri-axle set

Quad axle set

Distance between axles

Page 59, and

Maximum total mass for heavy motor vehicles with at least 7 axles

  • (New) 16.8m or more, and a minimum 7 axles - 45,000kg
  • (New) 17.4m or more, and a minimum 8 axles - 46,000kg

Load sharing
Page 60

This section has been deleted from the heavy vehicle road code. Load sharing still remains an important requirement to understand and we recommend you refer to Section 3 of the VDAM 2016 Rule for more details.

Gross mass limits

Page 60, and


  • The combined gross mass of an A-train must not exceed 39 tonnes. 
  • The combined gross mass of a B-train must not exceed 39 tonnes, unless it has:
    • at least two motor-driven axles in a tandem or tri axle set
    •  three motor-driven axles in a tri-axle set

Gross mass of a simple trailer

Page 70, and

The gross mass of a simple trailer must not exceed 36 tonnes (or 40 tonnes if the towing connection is a roll-coupled hitch approved by the NZ Transport Agency).

Update December 2014

  • Driver licensing application requirements
    The identification for driver licensing information has been updated to include changes to the evidence of identity requirements which came into effect on 1 December 2014.
  • Blood Alcohol Level
    The legal alcohol limit for driver aged 20+ has been reduced. From 1 December 2014 the new limit is 250 micrograms per litre of breath or 50 milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood.
  • Driver licence cards
    The format of the photographic driver licence has changed.  Information about the look and content of the card has been updated to show the changes.

Other update pages:

Last updated: 25 November 2014