Overheight truck incidents fall to lowest in seven years

Incidents involving overheight trucks have dropped to their lowest level since 2017, as the New South Wales Government continues to work to reduce traffic-clogging breaches in the Sydney tunnel network.

There have been 107 overheight trucks incidents so far this year, down from a high last year of 161.

In 2023, detections peaked in June but have trended down since the New South Wales Government introduced a zero-tolerance approach which included six-month registration bans for offending trucks and the establishment of an industry-wide overheight vehicle taskforce led by Transport for NSW.

Under a deal with the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) in June, all incidents of overheight breaches in tunnels are now being referred straight to Transport for NSW for sanction.

There were then four overheight incidents recorded in November this year, compared to 25 in November 2022.

The Sydney Harbour Tunnel, which is impacted by the most overheight breaches, has recorded a 22 per cent decrease this year.

The M5 East Tunnel has also seen a 65 per cent reduction in incidents and a nearly 43 per cent decrease has been noted at the Lane Cove Tunnel.

This year, Transport for NSW has stripped 19 heavy vehicle of their registration, taking them off roads for up to six months, and a further 21 drivers have had their license suspended.

Minister for Roads, John Graham, said the Government’s work to reduce overheight truck incidents is starting to show.

“The NSW Government was firm in its commitment to stopping overheight trucks shutting down our city and the efforts of Transport for NSW and the industry taskforce has begun to pay off in a busy time of the year for freight,” he said.

“Incidents are dramatically down in November with just four breaches recorded but we cannot and will not claim the job is done as it still only takes one overheight incident to ruin the day of driver’s all over Sydney.

“The vast majority of truckies and operators do the right thing, but the public have no patience for any unnecessary incidents involving overheight trucks.”

NHVR Chairperson, Duncan Gay, reinforced the importance of overheight truck regulation.

“To ensure drivers are adhering to the safety measures that keep themselves, their load, and other road users safe, we inform, educate, and where necessary, enforce the Heavy Vehicle National Law,” he said.

“Our working relationships are key in the management of overheight incidents across the Sydney tunnel network, essentially involving the coordinated actions of four parties – the NHVR, the NSW Police Force, Motorway Tunnel operators and managers and Transport for NSW.

“The efforts include educating industry through advertising on social media, online, radio and through key trucking channels, developing a brochure which was translated into three languages for NHVR Safety and Compliance officers to hand out at Heavy Vehicle Safety Stations, and investigating other parties in the Chain of Responsibility that may have been contributing to these incidents.”

According to Gay, the NHVR has undertaken 21 Chain of Responsibility investigations into breaches of over height trucks.

These involved investigating the companies that have trucks that breached or nearly breached the tunnel regulations, resulting in four Improvement Notices, to ensure better safety outcomes across the industry.

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