201 Elizabeth Street
Sydney NSW 2000
99 William Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
231 North Quay
Brisbane QLD 4000
1 Farrell Place
Canberra ACT 2601
111 St Georges Terrace
Perth WA 6000
The enforcement of the heavy vehicle mass and dimension laws rely on measurements taken by inspectors. These measurements need to be accurate enough to satisfy a Court “beyond reasonable doubt.”
Given the scope for human error and the fact that these measurements are often taken in less than ideal conditions, how can truck drivers be sure that they can believe the weights and dimensions recorded by inspectors? Further, how can the authorities be sure that their measurements are accurate enough to rely on in Court?
The authorities use two processes to overcome these problems.
The first safeguard is that all measuring implements (such as tape measures, weighbridges, portable axle weighers etc) are tested and certified for accuracy. This reduces the chances of manufacturing faults or wear and tear causing inaccurate measurements.
In Court proceedings the prosecutor will usually produce evidence that the measuring devices have been tested and proven accurate. This means that in most cases, a person who is defending a mass or dimension offence will have difficulty arguing that the measuring device was inaccurate unless they have specific evidence to prove that.
Even if the measuring tools are accurate there is always scope for human error. Accuracy can also be affected by the conditions that a measurement is taken in, for example a weigh bridge is more accurate than portable axle weighers. A height measurement will be easier to take on a flat surface than on an incline.
To counter these problems and ensure measurements can be relied on in court, the enforcement authorities use a system of ‘measurement adjustments’. It simplest terms, they reduce the weight or measurement by a certain amount to counter any potential inaccuracy. This is the second safeguard.
The actual system used to calculate the measurement adjustments is quite complex. The amount deducted depends on factors such as the:
It is important that people do not try to use these measurement adjustments as a leeway. Some truck operators have been known to try to carry a slightly over limit load, relying on the fact that a small deduction will be made from any measurement. However, this is very risky. It is impossible to know in advance exactly what measurement adjustment will be applied.
If you believe that an inspector has incorrectly measured or weighed your vehicle, there are a few steps that you can take to help defend yourself:
Image Credit – Gennady Kireev © 123RF.com
Contact Armstrong Legal:
Sydney: (02) 9261 4555
Melbourne: (03) 9620 2777
Brisbane: (07) 3229 4448
Canberra: (02) 6288 1100