Risk-based categorisation of offences
Under compliance and enforcement provisions, fatigue management, mass, dimension and loading and speed compliance offences are categorised according to the road safety risk. The categorisation recognises the potential damage to road infrastructure and that risk to people’s safety increases with the severity of the offence.
Why have risk-based categorisations?
When an authorised officer investigates a possible breach he or she will consider legislated limits, the potential risk to people’s safety as well as the potential for damage to road infrastructure when determining the category of the offence.
Risks are divided into ‘breakpoint’ categories. The category of the breach is proportionate to the severity of the offence. Fatigue related offence risk categories range from ‘minor’ to ‘substantial’, ‘severe’, and ‘critical’.
Mass, dimension and loading offence risk categories range from ‘minor’ to ‘substantial’ and ‘severe’.
Risk categories also determine what powers transport inspectors and police officers may use on the road, and the level of penalty that may apply.
Categories of breaches
- Minor breach – risk of someone gaining a minor unfair commercial advantage over those who operate legally, but no risk to safety or infrastructure.
- Substantial breach – risk of damage to infrastructure, increasing traffic congestion and unfair competition. It may also involve some risk to safety, although not an appreciable risk.
- Severe breach – appreciable risk to safety, more severe risk to infrastructure, greater risk of traffic congestion or a greater level of unfair competition.
- Critical breach – contravention of fatigue regulated maximum work time and/or minimum rest time which would adversely affect the driver’s ability to drive safely.
What does risk categorisation apply to?
- Mass – including axle mass (also see Measurement adjustment) State and territory road agencies set out the provisions and penalties relating to mass of heavy vehicles when on a road.
- Dimension – including height, length and width (also see Measurement adjustment) State and territory road agencies set out the provisions and penalties relating to the dimensions of heavy vehicles when on a road.
- Load restraint – the National Transport Commission’s publication Load Restraint Guide provides guidelines and performance standards for the safe carriage of loads on heavy vehicles.
- Fatigue – additional information about managing fatigue may be accessed under the Fatigue management section of our website. State and territory road agencies set out the provisions and penalties relating to work and rest arrangement risk categories for breaches.
- Speed Compliance – additional information about managing speed obligations can be found on the National Transport Commission website. State and territory road agencies set out the provisions and penalties relating to work and rest arrangement risk categories for breaches.
How will risk-based categorisation affect you?
The risk-based categorisation of an offence will determine what legal defences are available to you and what penalties may apply.
For example, if you are a driver or operator and you have committed a substantial or severe risk breach, you do not have any defence, including the reasonable steps defence for any mass, dimension or load restraint breach – except in relation to a Container Weight Declaration.