Due to the sheer mass of the vehicle and nature of materials transported, heavy vehicle crashes tend to be more serious, resulting in the loss of human life and high cost damages. Over 17% of the 2012 Australian road toll can be attributed to crashes involving heavy vehicles.


  • Transport is a crucial component of the Australian economy, directly accounting for approximately 5% of Gross Domestic Product, and forming a key input to almost all other sectors of the economy, including the export and import sectors.
  •   Efficient land transportation has long been vital for Australia’s economic growth, international competitiveness and social wellbeing.
  • Heavy goods vehicles are crucial to the transport sector.
  • Rigid trucks and articulated trucks comprised 3.2% of registered vehicles in Australia in 20123, yet these vehicles account for 7.1% of the total vehicle kilometres travelled in Australia.

What is a heavy goods vehicle?

  • A heavy goods vehicle is a vehicle with a gross vehicle mass of 4.5 tonnes or greater5, which is used to transport goods on the road.
  • There are two categories of trucks generally referred to as heavy vehicles:
    • rigid trucks (eg. tow trucks and garbage trucks) where the tray forms part of the truck body); and
    • articulated trucks (eg. semi-trailers)  where there is a prime mover or a rigid truck towing one or more trailers. Articulated trucks can be further broken down into B-doubles (which are a semi-trailer with a second smaller trailer between the prime mover and main trailer) and road trains (which are longer than 19 metres and generally have three or more trailers).