Road Transport Forum chief executive Ken Shirley says the recently released Vehicle Dimensions and Mass Rule 2016 represents an “evolution rather than a revolution in heavy vehicle regulation” and that the new VDAM rule broadly landed where the RTF and the road transport industry expected it to.
“The new rule is based on sound principles of having vehicles that suitably fit New Zealand’s roading network. While there will be some productivity gains out of the new mass and dimension limits, priority has been given to road safety considerations, which is entirely appropriate,” says Shirley.
“The slightly larger dimensions will allow transport operators to purchase the most modern, top-of- the-line equipment from overseas, therefore improving the vehicle technology and overall safety of New Zealand’s truck fleet.”
Shirley says the new rule is also a sensible simplification and consolidation of what has historically been a very complex and confusing set of rules, making it easier for operators and drivers to understand and likely to improve compliance.
He says drivers will need to be aware of axle spacings when carrying near the load limit and also be mindful that external lashings must exist within the 2.55m width limit.
“While supportive of most provisions within the new rule, the industry opposed the reduction in weight tolerance from 1,500kg to 500kg and we are therefore disappointed that the 500kg tolerance prevailed. This will add considerable stress to freight loading and allows little margin for error,” says Shirley.