Heavy vehicle frequently asked questions

Quick answers to questions about how the HVNL, the Heavy Vehicle Inspection Scheme, Access and fatigue management affects you and your business.

What is the Heavy Vehicle National Law?

In 2014, the HVNL commenced, replacing existing state laws governing the operation of all vehicles over 4.50 tonnes Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) in South Australia, Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Australian Capital Territory and Tasmania, and is expected to deliver business and safety benefits to the heavy vehicle industry.

Western Australia and the Northern Territory have not adopted the HVNL and will continue to govern heavy vehicles under their own state law.

The Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) brings together model legislation developed over the last two decades by the National Transport Commission (NTC), States and Territories.

In addition to passing the HVNL, States and Territories agreed to four regulations made under the Law. Those regulations are:

Heavy Vehicle (Vehicle Standards) National Regulation
Heavy Vehicle (Mass, Dimension and Loading) National Regulation
Heavy Vehicle (Fatigue Management) National Regulation
Heavy Vehicle (General) National Regulation

The HVNL establishes the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR)

What is the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator?

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) has been established to:

  • administer one set of laws for heavy vehicles under the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL)
  • minimise the compliance burden on the heavy vehicle transport industry (while ensuring the previous principles of reform are maintained)
  • reduce duplication and inconsistencies across state and territory borders
  • implement the national laws and future reforms.

Now that the HVNL is up and running, will I still do business with DPTI?

Now the NHVR has assumed legislative responsibility for most heavy vehicle functions, in most instances the NHVR will be your first and primary contact. However, you will continue to deal directly with the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure (DPTI) for some matters, including:

  • heavy vehicle registration and driver licensing
  • road rules
  • drink and drug driving
  • booking heavy vehicle inspections
  • enrolling in the Intelligent Access Program.

Will I still be able to do business at Service SA customer service centres?

You will still be able to do much of your heavy vehicle business at Service SA customer service centres including:

  • paying heavy vehicle registration fees
  • renewing driver licences
  • booking heavy vehicle inspections
  • purchasing national driver work diaries.

Heavy Vehicle Inspection Scheme from January 2017

The scheme starts on 1 January 2017 and is the first step in a staged inspection scheme implementation to address roadworthiness of all heavy vehicles. A date for the full rollout of the scheme is yet to be determined.

Why do we need a heavy vehicle inspection scheme in SA?

A heavy vehicle inspection scheme is vital for road safety. After multiple heavy vehicle crashes resulting in fatalities, a coronial inquest set out a series of recommendations, including the establishment of a heavy vehicle inspection scheme.
Stage one will include heavy vehicles previously not subject to an independent inspection in their lifetime unless issued with a defect notice. This aligns South Australia with regimes in other Australian states and territories.

Which vehicles will require an inspection?

All vehicles and trailers with a Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) or Aggregate Trailer Mass (ATM) over 4.5 tonnes that are older than three years from date of manufacture.
This includes vehicles in the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) Maintenance Accreditation Scheme but excludes buses that already undergo an annual inspection and special purpose vehicles such as tractors, agricultural and road making equipment.

As a primary producer does this affect me when I am changing the vehicle's registration configuration?

No. Because the vehicle is not being transferred to a new owner you are not required to undergo any additional inspection other than what you currently undergo when changing your configuration from single trailer use to B-Double or Road-Train through the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure (DPTI) inspection regime

Do I need to have my vehicle inspected before I sell it?

The responsibility and cost to have the vehicle inspected and passed as roadworthy rests with the new owner.

They will not be able to register or transfer registration into their name until the vehicle has passed an inspection.
If you buy a vehicle that has not passed an inspection within the last three months it may cost more to have the vehicle inspected, repaired and passed as roadworthy.

Why can't I register my heavy vehicle before it is checked?

The aim of the scheme is to confirm that the heavy vehicle meets the requirements of the Motor Vehicles Act 1959, so the vehicle is not transferred and driven on the road if it puts the safety of a person using the road at risk and the vehicle complies with regulated design, construction and maintenance requirements.

Where can I have my heavy vehicle inspected?

Inspections must be carried out at an authorised inspection station by a DPTI authorised vehicle inspector.

Metropolitan inspection
Inspections outside the Adelaide metropolitan area

My heavy vehicle has been defected, can I use of these authorised inspection stations?

No - only DPTI or police can inspect a vehicle with a defect notice recorded against it.

Can I have my road-train or B-double inspected

No - these require an annual inspection label that can only be obtained by having the vehicle inspected at a DPTI inspection facility.

If you are purchasing a prime mover or trailer that is registered as a Restricted Access Vehicles (RAV) and you do not want to register the vehicle in a RAV configuration you can have it inspected at a private authorised inspection station.

How much will it cost?

An authorised inspection station cannot charge more than $268, however they may charge less The inspection stations must post their inspection price on their website for best value comparison.

How long will the inspection take?

The inspection is aimed at identifying faults that may compromise the safety of the vehicle and pose a risk to the driver or other road users. The inspection should not take longer than one hour.

What happens if faults are identified?

The vehicle will have a fail result recorded and can not be transferred until the required repairs are completed and it passes. You can have the vehicle’s faults repaired at the same location or take it to another repairer, depending on the nature of the faults.

Once the repairs are completed the vehicle will undergo another inspection at an additional cost. The person conducting the repairs cannot inspect their own work.

Do I have to have the repairs done at the place where my vehicle was inspected?

No. You can take the vehicle to the repairer of your choice. However depending on the faults and the degree of a component's deterioration the vehicle may be unsafe to be driven on the road and it is an offence to drive an unroadworthy vehicle on a road.

If I drive away even though my vehicle is not roadworthy who will know?

The authorised inspection station and the vehicle inspector has an obligation to advise DPTI Audit and Accreditation Unit that an unsafe vehicle has just left their site and as a result you may be intercepted by a transport inspector or police officer resulting in the vehicle being defected and the driver getting an expiation notice for driving a vehicle that does not comply with vehicle standards and poses a safety risk.

What if I buy a truck, have it inspected and it fails, can I return it to the seller?

If you have a contract subject to a pass inspection result, you may be able to return the vehicle. In any other case it would be a case of buyer beware.

What can I do if my vehicle fails and I believe it should have passed?

Firstly you should discuss your concerns with the person within the business that has the authority to resolve your complaint. Your complaint and action taken must be documented along with photos as supporting documentation. You should be given a copy of this documentation or at least the case number.

If the matter is not resolved and you aren't happy with the outcome you can email the DPTI Audit and Compliance Unit with the case number and supporting details for further investigation. The investigation may also require your vehicle being inspected at a DPTI inspection station at an additional cost.

What if the vehicle is unregistered at time of sale, is an inspection still required?

Yes. Before a heavy vehicle can be registered in a new name it must have a valid pass inspection recorded against it on the Registration and Licensing data base.
An unregistered vehicle is only permitted to drive on a road to an inspection station if you get an Unregistered Permit from a Service SA Centre or a Trade Plate is displayed.

Do I have to present an inspection certificate to Service SA to have the transfer processed?

No. The result of the inspection should be entered electronically by the authorised inspection station after the inspection is conducted. This information will be linked to the vehicle on the Registration and Licensing data base.

If I purchased my vehicle in another state and it complied there. Do I need another inspection?

Yes. Heavy vehicles three years or older, registered for the first time in South Australia, will require an identity and a roadworthy inspection for the transfer.
The identity inspection should be done first, in case issues are detected that require the roadworthy to be done by DPTI instead of one of the authorised inspection stations.
Information on locations for identity inspections can be found on the Interstate Vehicle Transfer page.
If the vehicle is going to be registered in SA as a multi trailer combination or under a maintenance management scheme it requires a more detailed roadworthy inspection to be undertaken by DPTI not one of the private inspection stations.

How long is an inspection valid for?

A pass roadworthy is valid for three months from the time of a successful inspection.

What happens if registration is not transferred within 14 days because it took too long to get an inspection?

Service SA will use discretion when applying late transfer fees to trucks where the system shows a recent inspection date.

How often will my heavy vehicle need to be inspected?

Vehicles need to be inspected each time they are sold to allow transfer of registration into the new owner’s name.

What if I can’t get in for an inspection and lose the sale of my vehicle?

If your vehicle is a District 2 registered vehicle you are able to bring the vehicle to any of the four metro authorised inspection stations who have a number of authorised inspectors ensuring delays in inspections should not occur. Inspections are valid for three months so planning ahead when selling your vehicle is highly recommended to avoid losing a sale opportunity.

Will a re-inspection have an additional cost associated with it?

Yes. Any subsequent inspection is considered a new inspection and will be charged accordingly. Refer to inspection station's website for costs.

If my vehicle defect notice was cleared at a DPTI inspection facility, do I need another inspection to sell it?

No. A defect clearance conducted at a DPTI inspection facility is a full roadworthy inspection. Therefore, the inspection will be valid for three months and you do not need another inspection if you sell your vehicle within that time.

What components will be inspected and to what standard will they be assessed?

Brakes, Steering, Tyres, Suspension, Oil, Air and Fuel leaks, Lights and Signals, Warning device, Seat belts, Wipers washers, Exhaust system, Structural cracks, Couplings and VIN/ Chassis number ensuring identity of vehicle are just some of the items that will be inspected.
This is not a comprehensive list of what will be checked, for additional information regarding the standards your vehicle will be assessed to, you can refer to the National Heavy Vehicle Inspection Manual on the National Vehicle Regulator website.

Why are there only four authorised inspection stations and how do I become one?

Stage one of the inspection scheme was offered to the four facilities that have inspection premises and equipment similar to the DPTI inspection facilities at Regency Park including brake roller testing equipment.

There is no guarantee the scheme will continue beyond stage one and so DPTI did not want organisations spending money on equipment that may not generate an economic long term return.

If it is determined the scheme will progress beyond stage one, the scheme will be open to all in a full tender process for both metropolitan and country facilities.


From February 2014, the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure (DPTI) has temporarily resumed the processing of permit applications for all Class 1 oversize/overmass and special purpose vehicles and all Class 3 vehicles undertaking trips solely within South Australia (that is, no border crossings).
The NHVR will continue to deal with all other permit applications, including cross-border travel.

Why isn't the NHVR processing all access permit applications?

The NHVR has experienced a number of implementation and transition issues affecting the processing of access permit applications. To reduce the impact of these issues on the heavy vehicle industry, SA (along with QLD, NSW and VIC) have been given delegated authority by the NHVR to undertake some permit application processing, as outlined above.

How do I apply for an access permit?

For application forms and information on how to apply for permits for Class 1 oversize/overmass and special purpose vehicles and all Class 3 vehicles with routes entirely within South Australia, visit who needs a permit.

I have applied to the NHVR for a permit. What happens to my application?

Please do not submit the same application to both the NHVR and DPTI, this can lead to delays to conduct additional checks between agencies regarding the issuing of permits.

Permit applications for Class 1 oversize/overmass and special purpose vehicles and all Class 3 vehicles with routes entirely within South Australia that were submitted to the NHVR prior to the 27 February 2014, but not processed before that date, are being redirected to DPTI for assessment and permit issue.

I already have local government consent/pre-approval for my route. Can I continue to use this?

Existing local government pre-approvals can continue to be used for applications submitted to the NHVR or DPTI. Proof of pre-approval must be provided with your access permit application and your vehicle cannot travel on the pre-approved route until an access permit has been issued.

How long will it take to issue my permit?

DPTI is doing all it can to process applications received under this delegation within similar time frames to those before the commencement of the NHVR, with many being processed within the same day.

Where required routes use local government roads there's still a need to obtain formal consent from the relevant local Councils (unless pre-approval is provided) before a permit can be issued.
While this can lead to longer processing time frames, DPTI will continue to liaise with local government to assist them in their role as a road manager, including access consent.

Will DPTI always be processing these access permit applications?

No. DPTI will only be processing access permit applications under this temporary measure to assist the NHVR and reduce the impact to industry.
At this stage, no time limit has been placed on these arrangements, including when the NHVR will assume full responsibility.

Who do I speak to about my access permit application?

Enquiries regarding access permit applications should be made to the NHVR on telephone 1300 MYNHVR (1300 696 487) or email

Contact the DPTI Vehicle Permits Team on telephone 1300 882 249 or email for the following enquiries:

  • Any remaining outstanding access permit applications submitted before 10 February 2014
  • access permit applications for Class 1 oversize/overmass and special purpose vehicles and all Class 3 vehicles for routes entirely within South Australia submitted to either DPTI or the NHVR from 27 February 2014.

Fatigue management - Have the arrangements for work and rest hours changed under the HVNL?

There is no change to the work and rest hours. Some improvements have been made under the HVNL so that two-up drivers working standard hours will be able to take the block of five hours rest that is required in 24 hours in the sleeper berth of a moving vehicle, in contrast to the current requirement that the vehicle be stationary.

The three current work/rest options for fatigue management will remain under the HVNL:

  • Standard hours - For operators who do not have accreditation for fatigue management. Drivers must work to standard hours if the operator they work for does not hold BFM or AFM accreditation.
  • Basic Fatigue Management (BFM) - For operators that require some flexibility in their work and rest hours. To be eligible to operate under BFM, operators must be accredited under the NHVAS.
  • Advanced Fatigue Management (AFM) - For operators who are able to demonstrate accountability for managing fatigue risks. To be eligible to operate under AFM, operators must be accredited under the NHVAS.

When do I need to use a work diary?

As with requirements prior to the National Law, you must carry and complete your work diary when you are driving a fatigue regulated heavy vehicle for all work undertaken in an area greater than 100km from your base, or if you operate under Basic Fatigue Management (BFM) or Advanced Fatigue Management (AFM).

You're still required to monitor your work and rest hours for all local area work (that is work less than 100km from your base), but you do not need to use a work diary to record those times. For more information on sale points and fees, visit National Work Diaries.

Enforcing the new law - Will industry be working to a completely new set of rules now that the HVNL has commenced?

No. Most jurisdictions have been working toward national consistency for a number of years, the new laws are largely the same as the old South Australian legislation.

The HVNL is a consolidation of the national model laws for heavy vehicles and the previous laws in place in each State and Territory were generally based on those model laws.

Who can enforce the HVNL?

There are no changes to enforcement arrangements under the HVNL. DPTI's on-road authorised officers and South Australia police will continue to enforce heavy vehicle laws in South Australia

Is it true that penalties will increase?

The HVNL establishes nationally consistent penalties for heavy vehicle offences in all participating jurisdictions (South Australia, Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, the Australian Capital Territory and Tasmania).

As with many jurisdictions, some penalties have gone up, while others have gone down. View the current penalties under the HVNL.

What happens if I receive a fine?

Any offence committed under the HVNL will be issued and processed through South Australia's existing enforcement system, if you receive a fine under the HVNL you will still make payment or contest the offence as per the instructions on the reverse of the infringement notice.

Page last updated: 27 September 2016