8. Improve heavy vehicle safety through improvements to licensing arrangements and fatigue laws



States and territories

Austroads, NHVR, NTC

Links to other Actions



While heavy trucks are under-represented in the number of serious crashes relative to distance travelled, they are over-represented in crashes causing deaths and serious injuries. This is due to the significant impact a heavy vehicle can have on other road users when involved in a crash. The regulation of heavy vehicle operations has been recognised as a key factor in the safe operation of heavy vehicles.

Outcomes by 2020

Stronger and more harmonised heavy vehicle driver licensing arrangements across Australia.

National heavy vehicle monitoring network substantially complete, improved rates of heavy vehicle compliance with fatigue and speeding laws, and better compliance with, and understanding of, Chain of Responsibility laws.

Improved heavy vehicle accreditation framework to strengthen safety management by heavy vehicle operators.

Review of Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) finalised and recommendations focused on achieving better safety outcomes provided to the Transport and Infrastructure Council.


  • Implement recommendations of Austroads' Review of the National Heavy Vehicle Driver Competency Framework, including strengthening safety components to ensure drivers and assessors have necessary skills. Pursue harmonised application of the Framework across jurisdictions to ensure best practice implementation, regardless of location, training and assessment process, or license type.
  • The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) will deliver improved options for strengthening safety management for businesses using heavy vehicles, including registering codes of practice for adoption by operators, and improving and harmonising safety accreditation schemes.
  • Build and integrate the heavy vehicle compliance monitoring network, allowing for the first time national data analysis about vehicles and operators to inform a risk-based approach to safety enforcement.
  • The NHVR and state/territory enforcement agencies will ensure all supply chain participants are aware of their safety obligations under strengthened Chain of Responsibility provisions in the HVNL (taking effect from mid-2018). They will ensure investigations into non-compliance consider the liability of others in the supply chain, not just the driver.
  • As part of the review of the HVNL, the NHVR and National Transport Commission (NTC) will review the heavy vehicle fatigue framework, informed by findings of the heavy vehicle driver fatigue research project conducted by NTC and the Alertness, Safety and Productivity Cooperative Research Centre.