NHVR will conduct prosecutions in Qld

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator takes part in compliance operations. Photos: NHVR

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) will be responsible for conducting prosecutions relating to heavy vehicles under the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) in Queensland courts as of 20 April 2024.

Acting Director of Prosecutions Elim Chan said the Regulator would have prosecutors located in Brisbane, the Gold Coast and regional areas including Toowoomba and Townsville.

The Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) will transition its heavy vehicle safety services across the state to the NHVR.

Most prosecutions relating to heavy vehicles will be transferred to the Regulator, however, some active prosecutions will remain with TMR for resolution.

With a view to assisting judicial officers and legal practitioners with the application of the HVNL, the Regulator has prepared a Judicial Guide.

The Guide provides an overview of the HVNL, key definitions, jurisdictional limits and the applicable sentencing principles. The guide is publicly available and can be accessed here.


The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator was established in 2013 as an independent statutory authority to administer the HVNL for vehicles with a gross vehicle mass of more than 4.5 tonnes. The Regulator appears for the Crown in each participating jurisdiction and it’s goal is to ensure a safe and productive heavy vehicle industry.

The HVNL was first enacted in Queensland as a schedule to the Heavy Vehicle National Law Act 2012 (QLD).

Common offences prosecuted under the HVNL relate to issues of driver fatigue management, road access, heavy vehicle safety accreditation and breaches of mass, dimension and/or loading requirements.

The most serious offences in the HVNL are the safety duty offences contained within Chapter 1A of the HVNL. Safety duties impose obligations on parties in the chain of responsibility to eliminate or minimise public risks in respect of their transport activities related to heavy vehicles, so far as is reasonably practicable.

Executives are similarly required to exercise due diligence to ensure their respective company complies with the relevant safety duties. The ‘primary duty’ contained within section 26C of the HVNL is a positive and non-delegable duty. The safety duty offences are modelled on the uniform Work Health and Safety Acts of the States, Territories and the Commonwealth.

Maximum penalties prescribed by the HVNL range from fines of $1890 up to $3,776,390 and/or a term of imprisonment of up to five years. The maximum financial penalty that can be imposed by the Magistrates’ Court in QLD is the maximum fixed under the HVNL offence provision and is not limited under Section 45(3)(a) Penalties and Sentences Act 1992 (QLD); and Section 22A(b) Justices Act 1886 (QLD).


In addition to the above penalty types, the HVNL contains several additional sentencing options that can also be imposed on sentence. These additional sentencing options are found in chapter 10 of the HVNL and include:

  • Commercial benefits penalty orders;
  • Supervisory intervention orders;
  • Prohibition orders; and
  • Compensation orders.

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