New Zealand confirms heavy vehicle changes

The New Zealand Transport Agency’s Vehicle Dimensions and Mass (VDAM) Rule 2016 has now come into effect.

“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’s Ministry of Transport said 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 Rule 2016 was initially signed in November last year, but did not officialy begin until 1 February 2017.

According to the NZ Transport Agency, the Rule includes some critical changes in vehicle dimensions and gross mass limits for certain common heavy vehicle configurations, including a change in general heavy vehicle dimensions from an increase of vehicle width from 2.5m (with additional allowance for load restraint devices) to 2.55m (inclusive of load restraint devices); and an increase of vehicle height from 4.25m (with additional allowance for load restraint devices) to 4.3m (inclusive of load restraint devices).

Gross Mass Limits have also been altered with increases for certain combinations that will be permitted on specific routes, even without a permit, including seven-axle combinations with a minimum wheelbase of 16.8m – increase from 44,000kg to 45,000kg; and eight-axle combinations with a minimum wheelbase of 17.4m – increase from 44,000kg to 46,000kg.

“Initially only state highway 50MAX and HPMV routes until 30 November 2017,” the Rule states. “It is expected that additional routes will be available after 1 December 2017.”

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