Crashes involving heavy vehicles are usually more serious because of their size and weight. About 20% of all road deaths involve heavy vehicles. Here's how you can safely drive a heavy vehicle.
Overheight heavy vehicles
In NSW, heavy vehicles higher than 4.3 metres have restricted travel conditions and must use approved road networks. NSW has more bridges and tunnels with low clearances of less than 4.6 m than any other state in Australia. Vehicles higher than 4.3 m must not travel under or through them.
What you should do if you drive a heavy vehicle on our roads
- Know the combined height of your vehicle and its load before driving. Check the height of your load using a height stick, measuring tape, laser technology or electronic measuring device.
- If your heavy vehicle is between 4.3 and 4.6m high, use the roads approved for vehicles up to 4.6 m in height as outlined on the Restricted Access Vehicle Maps.
- If your heavy vehicle is higher than 4.6m, you'll need a specific permit from the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR).
- Take notice of safety systems in your vehicle like alerts, warnings, and locks.
- Don’t rely on GPS navigation systems.
- Look out for clearance signs on the roadside that warn you of low bridges or tunnels ahead.
Heavy vehicle licensing
Heavy vehicle drivers have licences classified as Light Rigid, Medium Rigid, Heavy Rigid, Heavy Combination or Multi-Combination.
Due to their shape and size, trucks have larger blind spots than other vehicles.
A Fresnel lens is a thin plastic lens attached to the passenger side window on a heavy vehicle. It gives the driver a wide-angle view as they look through the lens. With a Fresnel lens, drivers can see in their blind spot and notice other road users who may otherwise have been hidden.
Find out more about the lenses in our Fresnel lens trial research - summary report (PDF, 388.45 KB).
Get your free Fresnel lens
A limited number of Fresnel lenses are available for NSW heavy vehicle operators to install and trial on their vehicles.
Lenses are only available for operators based in NSW. To order a free lens, your truck should be over 12 tonnes GVM and a 2015 model or older.
An operator can order a maximum of 2 lenses. Lenses will be provided on a first-come first-served basis.
How to order
Visit our online catalogue, enter stock code 45097620 in the search bar and select Heavy Vehicle Fresnel Lenses from the drop-down list.
Installing a Fresnel lens
When installing a Fresnel lens, follow the manufacturer’s instructions. View or download the Fresnel lens fitting instructions (PDF, 380.46 KB).
If you have any questions about the Fresnel lens, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Transport for NSW has taken all due care in providing Fresnel lenses but does not warrant or represent that their use will reduce safety risks nor that they are free of any defects. Fresnel lenses are made available on the understanding that Transport for NSW is not liable (including but not limited to liability by reason of negligence) to the users of the Fresnel lenses for any loss, damage, cost or expense whether direct, indirect, incurred by, or arising by reason of, any person using the Fresnel lens. Users of Fresnel lenses will be responsible for properly installing in accordance with the instructions issued by Fresnel as the product manufacturer, using and assessing any risks associated with use of the product. Transport for NSW disclaims, to the extent permitted by law, all warranties, representations or endorsements, express or implied, with regard to the Fresnel lenses, including but not limited to all implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, or non-infringement.
Speeding is the leading behavioural factor in deaths and serious injuries on our roads. Speeding isn't just driving faster than the speed limit. It also includes driving too fast for the weather, light, traffic and road conditions.
For every 5km/h over a 60km/h speed limit, the risk of a casualty crash doubles. Going over the speed limit by more than 10km/h increases your risk of crashing by 4 times.
Use a seatbelt
In a crash, seatbelts stop drivers and passengers from being thrown around or out of the vehicle. You have a 50% better chance of surviving a fatal crash if you wear a seatbelt.
All heavy vehicle drivers and passengers must wear a seatbelt. Fines and demerit points apply to drivers found not wearing a seatbelt.
Don’t trust your tired self
Fatigue is one of the top 3 behavioural factors involved in serious crashes on our roads. Driving tired affects your safety, as well as the safety of your passengers and other road users.
Fatigue is more than feeling tired; it affects your body and driving, slows your reactions, reduces concentration and causes fatal microsleeps. The main causes are lack of sleep, working long hours, working at night and irregular work and sleep schedules.
You need to pull over and rest if you experience any of these warning signs:
- poor concentration.
- sore or tired eyes.
Heavy Vehicle National Law sets out work hours and rest times for heavy vehicle drivers to follow at all times.
Everyone in the delivery chain has the responsibility to manage fatigue.
Keep your load in check
Loose or incorrectly restrained loads can injure or kill others, damage property or cause hazards. Heavy vehicle drivers and those in the transport supply chain have a legal responsibility to ensure that loads are securely fastened.
The National Transport Commission's Load Restraint Guide shows you how to secure loads correctly.
Under the Heavy Vehicle National Law regulations, heavy fines and court attendance notices apply if you don't comply.
Smarter crash avoidance
The Monash University Accident Research Centre's study shows how crash avoidance technologies improve safety for everyone on the road.
To reduce death and injury on our roads, we reviewed a range of safety features and technologies for heavy vehicles. (PDF, 3.45 MB) All the crash avoidance, protective and safety technologies featured have a safety benefit.
Electronic work diaries
To improve heavy vehicle safety, the NHVR has approved electronic work diaries for drivers to use instead of written work diaries. The law requires truck and bus drivers to use a work diary. Electronic work diaries make it easier for drivers and operators to log and check work hours and rest times. Find out more on the National Transport Commission's Review of Regulatory Telematics.
Construction Logistics and Community Safety - Australia (CLOCS-A)
We’re a Founding Partner of the Construction Logistics and Community Safety – Australia (CLOCS-A) program.
CLOCS-A is a national approach for managing the risks around construction projects. With increased construction across NSW, CLOCS-A is designed to provide a consistent framework for industry to help improve road safety. It’s a priority area of our 2026 Road Safety Action Plan to increase the safety of heavy vehicles through the support of CLOCS-A.
Find out more at CLOCS-A.
For more information
The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) helps drivers and operators understand safety and their compliance obligations.
Find out more about whether you need a Fitness to Drive medical assessment.