National Operating Standard

National Operating Standard – Case Study

Standard Lifts Safety Requirements In Line With Other Comparable Heavy Vehicle Industries

Australia’s Heavy Vehicle National Law should:

  • encourage and embrace the use of technology for safety and access purposes; and
  • ensure operators have suitable safety management systems in place and the capital necessary to ensure the safe operation of heavy vehicles.

The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) believes these goals can be achieved through the incorporation of a national operating standard for heavy vehicle operators into the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL).


They are not unusual.

NSW registered:

  • prime movers and articulated vehicles with a GVM or GCM of more than 13.9 tonnes and manufactured on or after 1 January 1991.
  • trucks with a GVM or GCM (if travelling in combination) of more than 13.9 tonnes carrying dangerous goods and required to display signs.; and
  • coaches used in the course of trade or business or for hire or reward

must have monitors recording:

  • lengths of time the vehicle is moving and stationary during a journey;
  • speeds at which the vehicle is driven;
  • distance the vehicle travels between stops; and
  • the time, date and place of starting and finishing a journey, drivers’ details and vehicle identification.[1]

Accredited operators of NSW buses must also:

  • develop maintain a safety management system[i]; and
  • be able to prove that capital is available to ensure the maintenance of vehicles[2]


NSW bus industry sources tell ALC that these measures have led to improvements in the management of bus safety relative to other classes of heavy vehicles, which appears to be supported by outcomes:



Regular Passenger Services

Heavy Vehicles




Quarter 2



Quarter 3



Quarter 4




This would suggest that the ALC concept of a national operating standard, requiring operators to:

  • identify the entity operating a heavy vehicle(s) and the place(s) heavy vehicles are garaged with the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR);
  • maintain a safety management system (SMS), meeting standards made by the NHVR;
  • prove to the satisfaction of the NHVR that a nominated amount of capital is available to the business; and
  • require the mandatory collection of data, through the use of equipment compatible with standards made under the National Telematics Framework

would be an appropriate inclusion into the HVNL.



The creation of a National Operating Standard offers the opportunity to enhance the safety and productivity outcomes of heavy vehicle operators – key objectives of the HVNL.

The opportunity should be taken to make these amendments to the National Law and to make the legislation fit for the 2020s and beyond.


[1] NSW Government (2019) Heavy Vehicle Driver Handbook: 64 –

[2] Section 10 of the Passenger Transport (General) Regulation 2017 (NSW)


[i] Section 9D of the Passenger Transport Act 1990

Read more in our policy and fact sheet below:

A National Operating Standard Policy

A National Operating Standard Policy

National Operating Standard Policy cover

A National Operating Standard Fact Sheet

A National Operating Standard Fact Sheet