NHVR says vehicle being towed is regarded as a ‘vehicle’, rather than a ‘load’, when its front/rear wheels are secured in the wheel lift, and the other wheels are in contact with the road
The NHVR has resolved an issue that emerged earlier this year where a tow truck operator was issued with a non-compliance notice for exceeding dimensional limits.
HVIA understands the operator was issued the notice due to the combination of the towing vehicle (the tow truck) and its load (a passenger car being towed via a rear-mounted wheel lift) exceeding the maximum length limit of 12.5 metres.
In response, HVIA immediately engaged with the NHVR to understand the compliance issue and seek a resolution.
In a positive step for the industry, the HVIA was able to link NHVR staff with tow truck trailer body builders which provided vehicle dimensions and other information, allowing the NHVR to complete its technical investigation.
This week, the NHVR has advised HVIA of the outcome of its investigation:
“The Heavy Vehicle Network Access Policy team determined that a rigid towing vehicle fitted with a flat-bed tilt tray body, which is towing a vehicle via its rear-mounted wheel lift, is considered a heavy vehicle combination for the purposes of assessing dimensional compliance,” the national regulator says.
Hence, the vehicle being towed is regarded as a ‘vehicle’, rather than a ‘load’, when its front/rear wheels are secured in the wheel lift, and the other wheels are in contact with the road (either directly or via lifting dollies, in cases where the wheels are inoperable). This means that the applicable length limit for that combination is 19 metres, not 12.5 metres.
The rear overhang limit for rigid vehicles does not apply to the rear-mounted wheel lift when being used to tow, as in that configuration the structure of the lifting device is regarded as a drawbar.
The NHVR further advises that in all instances, the towing vehicle and the towed vehicle must comply with all other relevant Heavy Vehicle National Laws, requirements for towing, and any other applicable regulations.
The NHVR will release an information sheet for industry on tow trucks which includes the above information.
This result is a positive step for trailer body builders and operators, which will have on-going certainty that these vehicles can continue to be used and sold as new vehicles.
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