The future HVNL should recognise the diversity of heavy vehicle operations and heavy vehicle operators.

It needs to provide simplicity and certainty for those who want it and open the door to other operators who wish to use alternative and innovative ways to better manage risks. The future HVNL should encourage operators to create and use safety management systems, and raise confidence in their ability to operate safely.

Summary of issues and options

Improving the regulator’s awareness of regulated parties


The NHVR faces several constraints in its ability to build risk profiles of regulated parties. One constraint is that it has limited awareness of who it is regulating. This is because barriers to entry into the transport industry are low and under current arrangements there are no mechanisms to record who is operating as a heavy vehicle operator.


7.1: Operator enrolment or licensing - read in RIS and HVNL 2.0.

- 7.1a Voluntary enrolment

  • Operators may be able to enrol with the NHVR by providing a high-level picture of their business. This will give the NHVR better visibility of who they regulate and help them build a risk profile of industry and better engage with operators.

- 7.1b Mandatory enrolment (for some operators)

- 7.1c Operator licensing (all operators)

  • This would mean operators would have to meet certain standards before they are able to operate a heavy vehicle. Without a licence it would be an offence for an operator to engage in heavy vehicle transport activities.

- 7.1d Operator licensing (higher risk operators only)

Enhancing the effectiveness of the assurance framework for operators and reducing duplication


Assurance under the HVNL doesn’t deliver value for operators. The National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme (NHVAS) does not provide the level of safety assurance required to fully comply with the HVNL. The modules in NHVAS are also quite prescriptive and do not incentivise innovation or encourage operators to actively manage risk. There is also duplication and inconsistency across various assurance schemes.

Operators have experienced a proliferation of duplicative, third-party customer auditing since introduction of the primary duty in October 2018. Responding to audit requests is resource intensive and this also undermines the purpose of assurance schemes, which should provide effective assurance to all parties that certain safety risks are being managed.


7.2: Remove the regulatory assurance framework and rely on performance standards - read in RIS

  • Here there would be no formal accreditation under the HVNL and instead performance standards would define acceptable outcomes relating to mass, vehicle maintenance and fatigue.

7.3: Enhanced opt-in single regulatory certification scheme - read in RIS and HVNL 2.0

  • This option would deliver a new and improved NHVAS. It would have better links to safety obligations under the HVNL and would be less prescriptive than current modules under the NHVAS.
  • Here the HVNL could be amended to explicitly provide that customers can rely on an operator’s accreditation for fulfilling their obligations under the primary duty. This would mean customers would not need to undertake their own audit which would duplicate an audit already carried out by an accreditation scheme provider.

7.4: Enable multiple regulatory certification schemes - read in RIS

  • This option is about changing assurance under the HVNL to allow for the recognition of assurance schemes other than the NHVAS that meet necessary standards.