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  • Home Resources & Technical Articles Driving & Traffic Offences Heavy Vehicle Offences Heavy Vehicle Offences and Penalties in Victoria (VIC)

    Heavy Vehicle Offences and Penalties in Victoria (VIC)

    Most states in Australia are bound by the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) and Victoria is one of them. The law makes provisions for the regulations and operations of heavy vehicles in the state. The purpose of the law is to stabilise a national system for enabling the use of heavy vehicles on the roads. It is the responsibility of every person under the chain of responsibility (COR) to see to it that these laws are obeyed. Failure on the part of anyone attracts penalties.s

    If an individual is convicted in a Victorian court for a heavy vehicle offence, the offence will show up as a disclosable court outcome (DCO) on a criminal history check in Victoria.

    The chain of responsibility consists of everyone under the road conveyance supply train.

    The HVNL provides for parties to the chain of responsibility for a heavy vehicle. They are;

    • An employer of the driver of a heavy vehicle.
    • A prime contractor for the driver, where the vehicle's driver is self-employed.
    • The person who operates the vehicle.
    • Any person who schedules or plans the operations of the vehicle.
    • Any person who consigns the goods to be conveyed by the heavy vehicle (consignor).
    • Any person who accepts the goods transported in a heavy vehicle(consignee).
    • Any person who arranges goods meant for transport in a heavy vehicle.
    • Any person who supervises the loading of goods in a heavy vehicle.
    • Any person who directly loads goods into a heavy vehicle.
    • Any person who directly offloads goods off a heavy vehicle.

    Section 6(1) of the HVNL defines a heavy vehicle as any vehicle with a Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) and an Aggregate Trailer Mass (ATM) above 4.5 tonnes. 6(2) also provides that a heavy vehicle is a combination that encompasses a vehicle with a GVM or ATM above 4.5 tonnes.

    Fatigue-regulated Heavy Vehicle Offence

    Driving a fatigue-regulated heavy vehicle when tired is illegal in Victoria. Under Section 225 of the HVNL, a person is said to be impaired by fatigue if such a person's ability to steer a fatigue-regulated heavy vehicle is influenced by fatigue.

    Section 228(1) of the HVNL imposes a duty on a fatigue-regulated heavy vehicle driver to avoid driving such heavy vehicles on the road when impaired by fatigue.

    According to section 7 of the HVNL, the following heavy vehicles fall under the category of a fatigue-regulated heavy vehicle;

    • Any vehicle with a GVM above 12 tonnes.
    • Any combination that has a GVM of over 12 tonnes.
    • Any fatigue-regulated bus.
    Penalty
    • 3 demerit points will be recorded against a person who drives a fatigue-related heavy vehicle while fatigued.
    • The maximum penalty for breaching this statute is $6,000 in fines.

    Work And Rest Hour Offences

    In Victoria, fatigue-regulated heavy vehicle drivers have stipulated requirements for their maximum work time and minimum rest time.

    The HVNL defines maximum work time as the duration the driver of a fatigue-regulated vehicle may work without resting.

    On the other hand, the law defines minimum rest time as the minimum recess time that a driver of a fatigue-regulated vehicle should take.

    Penalty

    This offence is divided into minor, substantial, severe and critical risks and the penalty attached to them varies.

    4 demerit points will be recorded against a person who disobeys the maximum work and minimum rest requirement while driving a fatigue-regulated heavy vehicle.

    Speeding Offence

    In Victoria, it is an offence for the driver of a heavy vehicle to go above the speed limit. Usually, where an offence is committed, the employer will in addition, be held responsible for the crime. Basically, people under the chain of responsibility will be held liable. Note also that any person who requests the driver of a heavy vehicle to drive the vehicle above the speed limit commits an offence under law.

     The particular persons under this chain of responsibility are;

    • Any person charged with scheduling the movements of the driver or vehicle.
    • The consignor or consignee of the goods (person who releases or receives the goods)
    • Any person accused of the loading and unloading of the goods.
    Penalty
    • $2090 and a licence suspension of 10 months for diving above 45km/h.

    Note that these Heavy vehicle speeding penalty is for;

    • Vehicles with GVM surpassing 4.5 tonnes
    • Vehicles comprising any trailers being hauled with GVM above 14.5 tonnes.
    • A bus that has more than 12 seats.

    Overloading Offence

    It is an offence under the Heavy Vehicle National Law to not comply with the loading requirements of a heavy vehicle. Section 111 of the HVNL places the responsibility on everyone under the chain of responsibility to ensure that the heavy vehicle and its components obey the loading requirements which apply to the heavy vehicle.

    Penalty

    In Victoria, when a heavy vehicle is overloaded, the penalty will be calculated based on the proportion that the load is over the acceptable weight. Also, whether the person being charged is an individual or body corporate will be considered. It will also be determined if the criminal is a first-time or recurrent offender.

    Note that any person who is found guilty of non-compliance with the loading requirements will face a maximum penalty of;

    • $3,000 for minor risk breach
    • $5,000 for a substantial risk breach
    • $10,000 for a severe risk breach.

    Sections 112,113, and 114 of the HVNL defines what entails a minor, substantial, and severe risk breach, respectively.

    Will heavy vehicle offences in Victoria show up on a police background check?

    If an individual is found guilty of a heavy vehicle offence in a Victorian court, the offence will show up as a disclosable court outcome (DCO) on the results of a police background check.

    Individuals can obtain a background check online via the Australian National Character Check - ANCC® website.

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