Drivers Licenses

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As from 1st April 2012
The Land Transport (Driver Licensing) Rule 1999, and amendments, prescribes the vehicles which may be driven by the holder of each of the different classes of driver licences and endorsements. The maximum weight limits are based on the Gross Laden Weight (GLW or GVM) or the Gross Combination Weight (GCW or GCM) of the vehicle.

 

Gross Laden Weight is
a. The weight specified by the manufacturer of the vehicle as the gross laden weight; (this is the maximum weight that the vehicle together with its load has been designed for.) or:
b. The weight specified as the gross laden weight under the regulations or rules. (In some cases, mainly in older vehicles, this may be greater than that specified by the manufacturer.)

Gross Combination Weight means the aggregate, or total, of the gross laden weights of the vehicles that make up the combination.

The easiest way to determine the Gross Laden weight of a vehicle that is subject to a certificate of fitness is to look at the loading certificate. If the GLW is more than 6,000kg then the driver will require a Class 2 driver licence. The holder of a Class 1L or !R licence may drive a motor caravan with a GLW of not more than 6,000kg provided that the actual on road weight does not exceed 4,500kg.

If the vehicle is a 5th wheel type or a car (or any other vehicle) towing a caravan it is deemed to be a combination vehicle.  If the GLW of the towing unit and the GLW of the towed unit added together exceed 6,000kg then a Class 1 driver licence will not be sufficient.  Vehicles that do not have a COF do not have have a loading certificate but the GLW can be found in the owners handbook or may be obtained by going to www.carjam.co.nz on the internet and entering the vehicle registration number.

 

Driver Licence Classes:
There are 6 classes of driver licences and a number of endorsements. Most of these endorsements are applicable to commercial activities and the only ones likely to affect drivers of motor caravans are “L” which indicates a learner licence and “R” which indicates a restricted licence. The vehicles which may be driven on each class of driver licence are:-

Licence Class and vehicles which may be driven under them:

Classes 1L and 1R

(a) a motor vehicle (including a tractor but excluding a motor cycle) that has a gross laden weight of not more than 4,500kg, or a combination vehicle that has a gross combination weight of not more than 4,500kg.
(b) a motorised mobile home or self propelled caravan that has a gross laden weight of not more than 6,000kg, provided that its on-road weight does not exceed 4,500kg
(c) a tradesperson’s vehicle that has a gross laden weight of not more than 6,000kg, provided that it’s on-road weight does not exceed 4,500kg.
       
Class 1

(a) a special type vehicle that is a forklift or runs on rollers or self- laying tracks and has a gross laden weight of not more than 18,000kg.
(b) special type vehicle that that runs on wheels and has a  
      Gross laden weight of -
(i)  not more than 6,000kg; or
(ii) more than 6,000kg but not more 18,000kg, if driven
         at a speed not exceeding 30kph. 
(c)  any tractor with a gross laden weight of not more than
       6,000kg.
(d)  any tractor with a gross laden weight of more than 
       6,000kg but not morwe than 18,000kg, if driven at a
       speed not exceeding 30kph.
(e)  a combination vehicle, consisting of a tractor towing a
        trailer, with a gross combined weight of not more than
        25,000kg, if it is being used in agricultural or land
        management operations and is driven at a speed not exceeding 30kph.
(f)  a rigid vehicle with a gross laden weight of not more than
       6,000kg.
(g)  a combination vehicle (other than a combination vehicle
        that comes within paragraph (d) of this definition) with a
        gross combined weight of not more than 6,000kg.

 

Classes 2 & 2L

(a)  a rigid vehicle with a gross laden weight of more than 6,000kg but not more than 18,000kg.

(b)  a combination vehicle (other than a combination vehicle
        that comes within paragraph (d) of the definition of
        Class 1 licence) that has a gross combined weight of
        more than 6,000kg but not more than 12,000kg.
(c)  a combination vehicle (other than a combination vehicle
        that comes within paragraphs (d) or (f) of the definition
        of Class 1 licence or paragraph (b) of this definition)
        consisting of a rigid vehicle (with a gross laden weight
        of not more than 18,000kg) towing a light trailer.
(d)  a rigid vehicle with a gross laden weight of more than
        18,000kg with nnot more than 2 axles.
(e)  a tractor with a gross laden weight of more than 6,000kg
        but not more than 18,000kg, if driven at a speed
             exceeding 30kph.

Class 2

(a)  a special-type vehicle that is a forklift or runs on rollers
       or self-laying tracks and has a gross laden weight of more
       than 18,000kg.
(b) a special-type vehicle that runs on wheels and has a gross
       laden weight of more than 6,000kg but not more than
       18,000kg, if driven at a speed exceeding 30kph.
(c) a special-type vehicle that runs on wheels and has a gross
       laden weight of more than 18,000kg, if driven at a speed
      not exceeding 30kph.


Class 3 and 3L 

a combination vehicle (other than a combination that comes within paragraph (d) of the definition of Class 1 licence or paragraph (c) of the definition of Classes 2 and 2L licences) that has a gross combined weight of more than 12,000kg but not more than 25,000kg.  

Class 4 and 4L

(a) a rigid vehicle (including a tractor) with a gross laden weight of more than 18,000kg.
(b) a combination vehicle consisting of a rigid vehicle (with a
       gross laden weight of more than 18,000kg) towing a light
       trailer.

Class 4 

a special-type vehicle that runs on wheels and has a gross laden weight of more than 18,000kg, if driven at a speed exceeding 30 kph.

Class 5 and 5L 

a combination vehicle with a gross combined weight of more than 25,000kg.

Classes 6, 6L & 6R

a motorcycle, moped, or all-terrain vehicle.

Note; If you are caught driving a vehicle on the wrong class of driver licence you may receive an infringement notice for $400 or be issued with an Offence Notice which will incur a fine of up to $1,000 per offence. Also in the event of an accident the insurer may decline any liability because the driver failed  to hold the appropriate current driver licence. 

Learner Licences:
No person is allowed to drive any motor vehicle until they have passed a theory test and gained a learner licence for the class of vehicle concerned. To gain a learner licence you must make application on the appropriate form, pass an eyesight test and pay the appropriate fees plus:-

For a Class 1L 

Is 16 years or older at the time of application.
If aged 75 or over produce a medical certificate not older than 60 days at the time of application.
Pass the appropriate theory test.

For a Class 2L         

Hold and have held a full Class 1 licence for at least 6 months.
Produce a medical certificate.
Pass the appropriate theory test.

For a Class 3L

Hold and have held a full Class 2 licence for at least 6 months.
Produce a medical certificate.
Pass the appropriate theory test.

For a Class 4L

Hold and have held a full Class 2 licence for at least 6 months.
Produce a medical certificet.
Pass the appropriate theory test.

For a Class 5L

Hold and have held a full Class 4 licence for at least 6 months.
Produce a medical certificate.
Pass the appropriate theory test.

The holder of a learner licence for Classes 2, 3, 4 or 5 may complete a course with a New Zealand Transport Agency approved trainer and gain a full licence for that class with no minimum time requirement. The names of these approved trainers may be opbtaioned from the nearest NZ Transport Agency office. 

Once you have gained a Learner licence you may drive a vehicle of that Class provided that you are accompanied by a person who holds, and has held for at least 2 years, a current full licence for that Class of vehicle. That person will be in charge of the vehicle and must be seated in the front passenger seat nearest the driver and if there is no front passenger seat must be seated as near as is practicable to the driver. That person must also not be under the influence of alcohol or drugs and must be in a condition whereby they could assume control of the vehicle if necessary. If the learner licence is for a Class 1 licence the vehicle must have an L plate displayed at both the front and rear of the vehicle whenever the learner driver is driving. It must not be displayed at any other time.  
      
Drivers aged 75 years or more may renew their licence up to 6 months before the expiry date while still retaining the validity from the original expiry date. 

Load Security:

Most people are aware of the existence of a Loading Code that covers the operations of trucks. However many are not aware that drivers of other vehicles are also required to ensure the security of their loads. The Land Transport Act 1998 provides that a person operating a vehicle on a road commits an offence if that person fails to ensure that any load carried in or on that vehicle, or in or on any vehicle being towed by a vehicle driven by that person, is secured and contained in such a manner that it cannot fall or escape from the vehicle. The clearly includes any spillage’s. If a person is convicted of this offence, the maximum fine for an individual is $2,000.00 and the court may disqualify that person from holding or obtaining a driver’s licence for any such period as the court thinks fit.

The Resource Management (Infringement Offences) Regulations 1999 came into effect on 1st February, 2000 and instant fines can be issued if a person is caught indiscriminately dumping waste. Travelling with waste tank valves open could fall into this category. The penalities are $300.00 for discharging onto land, but for discharging into water or onto land where it can reach water the fine is $750.00 per offence.