Construction vehicles

During construction works, there may be some circumstances where it is allowable to drive an unregistered vehicle in a roadside area which has been closed to the general public and which is not part of an actual roadway.

Under the Road Safety Act 1986 vehicles must be registered if they are going to be driven on a road. A road is described in the Act as an area which has been developed for (or which is mainly used for) the driving of vehicles and which is open to the public.

No matter what purpose a vehicle is being used for, it must be either be registered or issued with an unregistered vehicle permit if it is driven on a road. This applies to vehicles being used for short term works, emergency works and mobile works and applies regardless of whether or not the vehicle is being used for construction activities.

However, it may not be an offence against registration laws to drive an unregistered vehicle within the property boundary of a road reserve, even on a road as defined by the Act for construction works.

During construction works, it may not be a breach of registration laws to drive an unregistered vehicle in a roadside area which has been closed to the general public and which is not part of an actual roadway. Also, where a road authority has temporarily and lawfully closed a road to the general public, a vehicle using that road may not need to be registered. This is because the works area would be behind safety barriers and closed to the public. Therefore it would not be considered a road as explained in the Road Safety Act 1986.

Other laws also apply to works carried out within road reserves.These include:

  • the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 which deals with the safety of work practices and work sites
  • the Road Management Act 2004 which deals with the carrying out of works within road reserves (not only on roadways but anywhere within the property boundaries of the road reserve)
  • the Transport Accident Act 1986 which deals with compensation arrangements in relation to vehicle-related injuries.

Visit the Victorian Legislative and Parliamentary Documents website (External link) to view any of the above Acts.

Under the Road Management Act 2004, VicRoads is the road authority responsible for freeways and arterial roads in Victoria. VicRoads controls and manages the use of road reserves of these roads and has the power to issue permits for works within a road reserve and to impose conditions on these permits.

There is also a Code of Practice under that Act which deals with the carrying out of work within road reserves.

VicRoads policy generally requires vehicles used for works within road reserves to be registered. Registration has the following benefits.

  • A registered vehicle must meet certain minimum standards of vehicle design and safety. By requiring that a vehicle used on a road worksite be registered or have an unregistered vehicle permit, VicRoads ensures vehicles meet safety standards.
  • It is difficult to ensure compliance with vehicles being used on roadsides not being driven into an area which is 'road' for the purposes of the Road Safety Act 1986. This may be because the vehicle is on the 'road' while being loaded or unloaded, or while crossing from one worksite to another. It is also not always clear whether the general public can access worksites and whether registration laws apply. Registration ensures any risk of breach of registration laws is avoided.
  • Registration of vehicles ensures compensation arrangements under the Transport Act 1983 will apply.

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