NZ implements new vehicle dimension and mass rule

Width limit for NZ heavy vehicles slightly exceeds Australian standards

NZ implements new vehicle dimension and mass rule
NZTA has also revised road user charges for special vehicles.


The new Vehicle Dimensions and Mass (VDAM) 2016 rule came into effect across New Zealand yesterday.

Enforced by the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA), the new rule includes key changes in vehicle dimensions and gross mass limits for some common heavy vehicle configurations, including a change in general heavy vehicle dimensions such as width and height.

The new rules have made room for heavy vehicle width to be 2.55m inclusive of load restraint devices – a 0.05m increase from the earlier standard.

Heavy vehicle height has been increased from 4.25m to 4.3m, inclusive of load restraint devices.

The standard height rule in Australia is 4.3m, or greater in case of special freight, and 2.5m width for heavy vehicles.

With the changed gross mass limit standard from 44,000kg to 45,000kg certain combinations will be permitted on specific routes without a permit.

This rule applies to seven-axle combinations with a minimum wheelbase of 16.8m and eight-axle combinations with a minimum wheelbase of 17.4m, with the gross mass limit increased to 46,000kg.

NZTA has also revised road user charges for special vehicles under the Road User Charges Act 2012, with two different rates for three-axle non-passenger service vehicles as opposed to a single rate for three-axle passenger service vehicles.

The new rule aims to improve productivity and regulatory efficiency, and reduce compliance costs for operators.

"The rule is designed to create a reasonable balance between the efficient operation of the heavy motor vehicle fleet, within the constraints imposed by the road network, and ensuring that heavy motor vehicles are operated safely," NZ ministry of transport says in a statement.

"It does this by creating limits to the permitted configurations, dimensions and mass of vehicles, with particular emphasis on large combination vehicles."

VDAM 2016 was signed in November last year.

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