TMA recently wrote about the regulations the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) is looking to implement to harmonise heavy vehicle road rules. This month, VicRoads has updated the Victorian road legislation to absorb these changes under the Victorian Class 1 Agricultural Vehicle Exemption Notice 2017 (No.1). Victoria is the trailblazer for what will hopefully be a national change.
“We are hopeful that the Victorian legislation will translate to national standards in March next year and that all states will agree with these changes, but we can’t be certain,” says Gary Northover, Executive Director of TMA.
The VicRoads changes deal with height, length, width, use of pilot vehicles and access to road networks. This last point is highlighted by the new heavy vehicle road networks map that VicRoads has released and which will allow heavy vehicle operators to better plan their journey. Essentially it shows which routes they are able to access, which ones require permits and restricted structures.
“Throughout the gazette there are a number of improvements to accommodate the increased size of equipment. For example, you used to be able to operate up to 5m in height, in the new legislation you can get an annual permit to transport a 6.5m vehicle,” Gary says.
VicRoads sought the advice of local organisations (namely the Victorian Farmers Federation and TMA) to ensure that the regulations would be relevant to the industries it impacts the most. The notice is the result of 18 months of collaborative work on behalf of the organisations.
“It was positive to see VicRoads proactively consulting with the industry and showing leadership in this area,” says Gary.
TMA’s role was to give the researchers empirical advice on what agricultural equipment was being transported and get feedback from selected members on the suggested changes. Gary notes that the feedback was via invitation from most states and involved OEMs, dealers and transport providers.
“We took it to the field to determine what changes were acceptable and reasonable within the environment. The feedback was invaluable as it identified issues that had not been picked up. The input of our members was invaluable in providing realistic and thorough feedback to VicRoads,” says Gary.
Now that the changes have been implemented in Victoria, TMA is encouraging Victorian dealers to share the Victorian heavy vehicle road network map and Victorian Class 1 Agricultural Vehicle Exemption Notice 2017 (No.1) with their clients.