Special purpose vehicle registration

Special purpose vehicles that don't meet the safety standards set by the Australian Design Rules or the South Australian Road Traffic Act can be registered under certain conditions.

Special purpose vehicles are vehicles not designed and built for carrying a load or passengers on roads.

How to register

To register a special purpose vehicle:

Special purpose vehicles may be registered for any three-month period up to 36 months (for example 2 years and 3 months). Special purpose vehicles may also be registered with a common expiry date subject to approval.

Registration renewals can be paid by direct debit.

If you need to register a vehicle for only part of the year, you may apply for seasonal registration.

What happens next

An assessment will determine which (if any) operating conditions will be applied to the vehicle, which may include:

  • daylight travel only
  • restrictions on speed
  • restrictions on distance that may be travelled
  • carrying of warning signs.

The conditions will be applied to the vehicle in the form of a gazette notice, code of practice or exemption. Vehicles can also be allocated a conditional registration code. Refer to Gazettes, codes of practice and operating conditions for further details.

What is a special purpose vehicle

Vehicles that have not been designed and built for carrying a load or passengers on roads, such as:

  • tractors
  • fork-lifts
  • mowers
  • sweepers
  • mobile-cranes
  • industrial vehicles
  • farm machines
  • earth moving vehicles.

Heavy special purpose vehicles (unladen mass exceeding 4,500kg) fall into one of three categories.

Type P - Plant based

Built or permanently modified to operate off road or on road related areas, or on an area of road that is under construction or repair. Examples include forklifts, backhoes, bulldozers, excavators, front-end loaders, tractors, agricultural machines and graders.

Type T - Truck based

Built or permanently modified for use on roads with no axle or axle group that is loaded in excess of the statutory mass limits. This category includes vehicles that are constructed on a truck chassis, either by design or modification. Examples include truck mounted concrete pumps and truck mounted drilling rigs.

Type O - Overmass

A vehicle (other than a type P) built or permanently modified for use on roads that has at least one axle or axle group loaded in excess of the statutory mass limits.

Contact Service SA


Only send general enquiries online. Service SA will respond within three working days.

If the matter is urgent or is specifically about your current licence or registration, phone or visit a customer service centre instead.

Enquire now


Call Service SA between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm Monday to Friday, excluding public holidays:

In person

Service SA Customer Service Centre locations and opening hours.

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Page last updated 20 October 2022

Provided by:
Department for Infrastructure and Transport
Last Updated:
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