Speeding Trucks - Heavy Vehicle Speed Limiters
Vehicles with a Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) of over 4.5 tonnes, and vehicles and trailers with a Gross Combination Mass (GCM) of over 4.5 tonnes, must not travel in excess of 100 kilometres per hour. To ensure compliance with the speed limit, the Road Transport Act 2013 requires most heavy vehicles to be fitted with a device that limits the maximum speed that it can travel to 100 kilometres per hour. There are a number of offences that a person can be charged with if this requirement is not complied with.
What Vehicles Must Be Fitted With A Speed Limiter?
The law requires the following vehicles to be fitted with a speed limiter:
- heavy goods vehicles manufactured after 1987 with a GVM in excess of 15 tonnes;
- buses built after 1987, used to provide a public passenger service, with a GVM in excess of 14.5 tonnes;
- trucks manufactured after 1990 with a GVM in excess of 12 tonnes;
- buses manufactured after 1990, used to provide a public passenger service, with a GVM exceeding 5 tonnes,
A heavy goods vehicle is a vehicle built mainly for use in work or to convey goods, merchandise, or materials used in trade, business or industry.
A vehicle is not exempted even if it is registered in another state, or the driver is licensed in another state, or the person responsible for it is from another state.
What Are The Consequences Of Failing To Comply With The Speed Limiting Requirements?
There are several offences with which the “responsible person” for the vehicle can be charged as a result of a speed limiter not operating correctly.
A “responsible person” can be:
- the registered operator;
- a person who has a legal right to possession of the vehicle (for example a person who has use of the vehicle under a lease or hire-purchase agreement);
- if the vehicle has been sold but the registration not yet transferred, the buyer.
The responsible person for the vehicle is guilty of a crime if the vehicle is not fitted with a compliant speed limiter. To prove that this offence has occurred, it is enough for the prosecutor to show that the vehicle was travelling at more than 115 kilometres per hour.
Fines which can be imposed on a person who is found to be responsible for a non-compliant vehicle are $3300 for an individual or $16,500 for a corporation.
If a heavy vehicle without a working speed limiter is driven in excess of 100 kilometres per hour, the responsible person may be guilty of an offence of “causing, permitting or allowing” the vehicle to travel in excess of the speed limit, and be liable to a fine of up to $3300.
Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) can impose a variety of administrative sanctions where a vehicle does not comply with the standards, or is used to commit an offence.
If police or RMS have reason to believe that a heavy vehicle which should be speed limited is capable of travelling at more than 105 kilometres per hour (for example, if it is detected speeding), they can issue a “modification notice” to the responsible person. The modification notice can require:
- a speed limiter to be installed, or the defective limiter repaired;
- the responsible person to provide information about the repairs;
- the vehicle to be tested to ensure that its speed limiter is compliant.
If a vehicle is not fitted with a complying speed limiter, RMS may suspend or cancel the vehicle’s registration. The agency can suspend a vehicle’s registration for up to 3 months if the vehicle is repeatedly detected exceeding the speed limit.
Given the serious sanctions which can be imposed, it is important that anyone charged with an offence involving a speeding heavy vehicle seek legal advice. Please contact Armstrong Legal.