The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) has prosecuted a driver for a severe dimension breach after they attempted to enter the Sydney M5 tunnel in December last year.
The driver was charged under the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) for failing to comply with dimension requirements after the load they were transporting collided with the roof of the tunnel.
The vehicle had travelled past a low clearance sign for the tunnel of 4.6m and was later measured to be 4.86 metres in height, with its legal limit capped at 4.3 metres.
An NHVR spokesperson told Big Rigs the driver was fined $3000 after entering a guilty plea.
Following a number of incidents of trucks failing to comply with warning signs – and in some cases, crashing into bridges and tunnels – NSW government officials have since increased the on-the-spot fine from $1888 to $4097, with the courts now able to impose a maximum fine of $5500.
Drivers with overheight vehicles can lose their licence for six months, while penalties have also doubled from six demerit points to 12.
Authorities also have the power to suspend truck registrations for up to six months.
Police attached to the Traffic and Highway Patrol Command, alongside the NHVR, are targeting overheight heavy vehicles within the Sydney road network this week as part of Operation Convoy.
Police say they will be targeting overheight heavy vehicles to detect and prevent any breach of the dimension regulations.
According to the NSW Government, 45 overheight trucks were detected in Sydney Harbour Tunnel in 2022 – almost double the amount from 2021.
Director of Operations Central Region Brett Patterson said the NHVR wants to remind operators and drivers to measure their loads.
“It’s crucial for both operators and drivers to measure the height of the truck and plan their journey ahead of time to ensure they comply with tunnel height clearances,” Patterson said.
“It’s also important to remember that loads can shift during a journey, so checking your load before you commence your trip and throughout is imperative.”
The NHVR recently partnered with the NSW Government to launch an education and awareness campaign following the recent spike in over-height truck incidents in Sydney.
The video is aimed at educating drivers on preventative actions they can take to avoid an incident occurring. Drivers should ensure they obey all road rules and be aware of any critical locations before starting and throughout their journey.