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North West Weight of Loads Group

Our aim

The North West Weight of Loads Group (NWWOL) has two main objectives:

  • To provide the community with continual improvement to public safety on our urban and rural roads, leading to better road conditions for all users, and
  • To reduce the costs to the ratepayer of maintaining the urban and rural roads by preventing road damage caused by overloaded heavy vehicles.

Weight of Loads groups 

There are 4 local government Weight of Loads organisations operating within NSW. These groups are authorised by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR), to perform heavy vehicle on-road compliance and enforcement activities under the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL).

Participating member Councils recognise the groups as an integral part of their asset protection, and contribute to improving local road safety, through enforcement and education about heavy vehicles, leading to better road conditions for all users.

Who we are

The North West Weight of Loads Group (NWWOLG / North West WOL Group) comprises of the following Local Government Areas:

  • Dubbo Regional Council
  • Inverell Shire Council
  • Glen Innes Severn Council
  • Gunnedah Shire Council
  • Moree Plains Shire Council
  • Narrabri Shire Council
  • Tenterfield Shire Council
  • Warrumbungle Shire Council

The North West WOL Group has four full-time inspectors which make up two road crews. Our authorised inspectors are highly knowledgeable and have up to 30 years experience working as Weight of Loads Inspectors for the group.

Inspectors conduct random mass checks on heavy vehicles to ensure they operate within the legislated mass limits on State, Regional and Local roads within the participating council regions. Inspectors also conduct joint operations with Highway Patrol and NHVR Inspectors.

The region covers an area of 78, 295 km2, roughly 10% of NSW.

 Shire Map Weight Of Loads


Why we run the program

  • Illegally overweight trucks compete unfairly with other trucking firms operating lawfully.
  • Illegally overweight trucks impose a substantial economic burden on tax payer’s ability to maintain the roads.
  • Overloading of vehicles reduces road safety because the maneuverability of a vehicle is affected; its stopping distance will be longer, turning slower and depending on how the weight is distributed, can have a higher chance of overturning.
  • Pavement damage can be a contributing factor in motor vehicle crashes, potholes can damage vehicles and uneven surfaces change the way a vehicle handles resulting in a loss of control.
  • By preventing overloading and reducing instances of critical road damage, road safety may be improved.

The transport network also involves numerous bridges, culverts, rail level crossings and other civil infrastructure that can be damaged by heavy loads that they have not been designed to carry.

Figure 1 shows a Road Train with 5 axle groups

Table 1 gives a representation of how wear from the axle load affects how long a section of road will last. There is a direct link between the load of each axle and the time till the road will need replacing. Note: pavement life is estimated using Equivalent Standard Axles (ESA’s), which estimates pavement wear through standardised axle loadings.

It costs approximately $496, 000.00 /km to replace sealed rural roads. The importance of the Weight of Loads program and ensuring heavy vehicles in our shires are loaded correctly is highlighted when we consider the combination of the reduced life of pavements and their replacement cost.

Figure 1: Axle Groups on a Road Train 

Axel groups on a road train

Table 1: The Effect of Overloaded Axles on Pavement Life

% Overload

ESAs per Standard Truck

% Damage Increase to Road

Expected Pavement Life (years)

Equivalent No. of Cars






















How we achieve our aims

The North West Weight of Loads achieves its aims through education, enforcement and prosecution.


Educational programs are supported by North West Weight of Loads to inform operators and members of the public of the following:

  • How to load appropriately.
  • The enforcement consequences of overloading.
  • The negative impact overloading causes to local road infrastructure.

The Moree Plains Shire Council Road Safety Program supplements these with initiatives targeted at the heavy vehicle industry such as speeding and driver fatigue.

Operators can contact the North West WOL Group to arrange a site visit by the Inspectors. These visits allow heavy vehicle operators to have a one-on-one conversation about their fleet and mass management issues in a non-enforcement environment. Heavy vehicle operators can also contact the North West WOL Group to find out specific information about their particular issues at any time.
North West Weight of Loads Group: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Enforcement and Prosecution

The North West WOL Group implements its enforcement through the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL). Council members also authorise the WOL Inspectors and administration staff to conduct enforcement activities on their roads under the provisions of Section 251 of the Roads Act 1993 as amended, Section 479 (Chapter 9 Part 9.1) of the Heavy Vehicle National Law (Queensland) and Section 166 of the Road Transport Act 2013.

The NHVR undertakes Court proceedings on behalf of the North West WOL Group.

Our commitment 

  • To reduce the incidents of overloading to increase the useful life of the road pavement,
  • To treat each truck driver fairly and with courtesy and respect,
  • To provide a fair appeal process for drivers or operators with legitimate objections to our processes.

Operating Procedure 

Stopping – Drivers are required to stop when directed by an authorised officer. A driver who fails to stop as directed will be issued a penalty notice.
Safety - If a safer, more suitable weigh site is required, Inspectors are authorised to direct the driver of a vehicle to relocate within a 30km radius or any point in the forward direction of the heavy vehicle's journey.
Scale readings – Drivers are welcome to view scale readings however, all directions from Inspectors must be strictly followed to ensure safety at the weigh site.
Measurement Adjustment – The amount of the measurement adjustment varies depending on the circumstances, such as the type of weighing technologies utilised, notices carried and environmental conditions of the weigh site.
Breach Reports – Are written when mass limits specified in the heavy vehicle national regulation are exceeded or a vehicle is not in accordance with authorisation.
Processing – When a Breach report is processed, the next step is usually the issue of an Infringement Notice. Severe breaches will result in the issue of a court summons.

Understanding your breach

The Weight of Loads Group conducts the weighting of a vehicle in two different ways depending on the situation.

  1. By the mass of the axle group
  2. By the gross mass of the vehicle

If the axle group or gross weight exceeds the mass limit a breach report will be issued. The severity of the breach is worked out by the percentage of the overloaded axle or gross mass and placed in a risk-based category.

Axle overload %




Not Comply Mass requirements - Minor Risk

Penalty Notice


Not Comply Mass requirements - Substantial Risk

Penalty Notice


Not Comply Mass requirements - Severe Risk

Direct to Court


Driver Fail to Comply With Direction To Stop Heavy Vehicle

Penalty Notice


Heavy Vehicle Not In Accordance With Authorisation

Penalty Notice

Further information

The Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) provides General Mass Limits (GML), Concessional Mass Limits (CML) and Higher Mass Limits (HML) for heavy vehicles operating on the national road network.
This fact sheet summarises the conditions for operating general access and restricted access vehicles, relating to axle mass and configurations
The interactive Restricted Vehicle Map 
NHVR Route Planner Tool 

Further information may be obtained from the following:

Transport for NSW:
National Transport Commission website
National Heavy Vehicle Website
North West Weight of Loads Group: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.