Trucks

A summary of the key road rules for trucks and heavy vehicles.

Rules for drivers of heavy vehicles

A driver of a heavy vehicle must obey the same road rules as other drivers.

There are also some road rules that apply just to heavy vehicle drivers. These are explained below.

Rules for other drivers when driving with trucks

There are some rules other road users must follow when sharing the road with heavy vehicles. These relate to truck lanes and not overtaking turning vehicles.

The rules in detail

For more information about rules relating to heavy vehicles, see to the Victorian bus and truck drivers handbook.

For most of Australia, including Victoria, there is one Heavy Vehicle National Law regulating trucks. The regulations governing heavy vehicles over 4.5 tonnes can be found on the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator website.

The Victorian road rules are published in Road Safety Road Rules 2009 (External link).

Some key road rules and reference numbers regarding heavy vehicles are:

  • 21 - Speed-limit where a speed-limit sign applies  
  • 143 - Passing or overtaking a vehicle displaying a do not overtake turning vehicle sign  
  • 157 - Truck lanes
  • 226 - Heavy vehicles to be equipped with portable warning triangles 274
  • 227 - Using portable warning triangles

Heavy vehicles are not allowed to travel faster than 100 km/h anywhere in Victoria.

Drivers of some heavy vehicles have limits to the number of hours they are allowed to drive before they must take a break.

The rules regarding driving hours and managing fatigue can be found on the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator website.

Heavy or long vehicles cannot be parked on a road in a built-up area for longer than one hour unless:

  • parking signs say that it is allowed, or 
  • the driver is picking up or setting down goods.

Trucks are not allowed to travel in the right hand lane on some of Victoria's freeways.

If there is a sign restricting trucks from driving in the right hand lane, drivers are not allowed to travel in the right hand lane of the freeway.

These restrictions apply to vehicles over 4.5 tonnes Gross Vehicle Mass except for:

  • buses 
  • emergency vehicles
  • vehicles under escort by a police officer or an authorised VicRoads officer.

Vehicles with a gross vehicle mass over 12 tonnes must travel with at least 3 portable warning triangles.

These portable warning triangles are to be used if the vehicle has stopped on the road or any part of its load has fallen off the vehicle.

On roads with a speed limit of 80km/h or more, if the vehicle is not visible for 300 metres in all directions, three triangles must be placed on the road:

  • one triangle must be placed 200-250 metres behind the vehicle or fallen load, 
  • one triangle must be placed 200-250 metres in front of the vehicle or fallen load, and 
  • one triangle must be placed by the side of the vehicle or fallen load

On roads with a speed limit of less than 80km/h, if the vehicle is not visible for 200 metres in all directions, three triangles must be placed on the road:

  • one triangle must be placed 50-150 metres behind the vehicle or fallen load 
  • one triangle must be placed 50-150 metres in front of the vehicle or fallen load, and 
  • one triangle must be placed by the side of the vehicle or fallen load.

If the road is a one-way road or divided road (not including roads with painted medians), three triangles are still needed, but there is no requirement to place a triangle in front of the vehicle. The triangle should instead be placed between the vehicle or fallen load and the triangle behind the vehicle.

The minimum following distance for road trains and long vehicles (not on a multi-lane road, in a built-up area, or when overtaking) is:

  • 200 metres for a road train behind a long vehicle 
  • 60 metres for a long vehicle (other than a road train) behind another long vehicle.

Truck drivers must stop when signalled to by a Police officer or a Transport Safety Officer.

Officers may check the:

  • mass, height and width of your vehicle
  • your load
  • condition of your vehicle
  • your log book, paperwork and licence details.

It is an offence:

  • not to stop when asked
  • to not let your vehicle to be weighed.

Local Councils can also enforce parking and load limits within their boundaries

Unless you are driving a truck, you are not allowed to drive in a truck lane.

Truck lanes are special lanes for trucks. They have truck lane signs at the start of these lanes.

Trucks or vehicles over 7.5 metres long displaying a 'Do Not Overtake Turning Vehicle' sign are allowed to use more than one lane to turn. You are not allowed to overtake these vehicles while they are turning.

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