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Land Transport Rule: Heavy Vehicle Brakes 2006

This rule sets out requirements to ensure that heavy vehicles and heavy-vehicle combinations (over 3500 kg GVM) can brake safely, with balanced brake performance, at any road-legal load condition.

About the rule

The rule is available in consolidated format (ie, a full, up-to-date, version of the rule including all its amendments) or as the original, unamended rule with separate amendment rules. Choose the option that best suits your needs from the list below.

To access the consolidated version of the rule (available only in PDF format), click on ‘Consolidation’ below.

The electronic versions of legislation on this website, and any legislation printed from the website:

  • have no official status
  • are made available for information only and should not be relied on as the authoritative text.

About the questions and answers

Questions and answers are provided to accompany a new rule or amendment rule when it is signed. These versions of the questions and answers are not updated to take into account any later amendments to the rule and are retained for historic interest only.

Land Transport Rules - Questions and answers

Land Transport Rule: Heavy-vehicle Brakes 2006 (Rule 32015)

General questions

1. What vehicles will be affected by the Rule?

The Rule applies to all heavy vehicles. These are vehicles with a gross vehicle mass (GVM) exceeding 3500 kg.

2. Why is this Rule needed?

  1. To help reduce the number of road crashes caused by brake defects in heavy vehicles. Police and Land Transport New Zealand data shows that brake defects cause or contribute to more crashes than any other type of heavy vehicle defect. Crashes involving heavy vehicles tend to be far more severe than light vehicle crashes.
  2. To encourage the use of advanced brake technology that can significantly improve heavy vehicle safety. The Rule will introduce this technology for vehicles that are imported, or are built or modified in New Zealand. This is intended to improve road safety for all road users.
  3. To improve testing requirements for certificate of fitness (CoF) checks.
  4. To bring together, clarify and rationalise existing legal requirements. This would encourage higher levels of compliance.

3. What does the Rule change?

  1. The Rule will ensure that the brakes of domestically manufactured and modified vehicles meet equivalent requirements to those of imported vehicles.
  2. The brakes of all heavy vehicles will be tested in a way that evaluates performance for the laden condition, instead of unladen as at present. This will help to identify brake defects and improve the standard of maintenance carried out on brakes.
  3. All heavy vehicles used in combination (e.g. a truck towing a trailer), first registered or modified in New Zealand from 1 July 2008, will have to be fitted with Load Sensing Valves (LSVs) or an Anti-lock Braking System (ABS). This will improve the safety of combination vehicle brakes.

4. How are heavy vehicles tested at present?

All heavy vehicles have to undergo periodic safety checks as part of a certificate of fitness (CoF) inspection. Brake testing forms an important part of the inspection because brakes are not able to be inspected unless they are dismantled.

5. Will the testing regime change under the Rule?

No. Heavy vehicles will still have to undergo the same CoF testing, only the method of testing will change. (See 3(b) and 6).

6. Why does the testing of brakes using vehicles in an unladen condition need to be changed?

Brake testing using unladen vehicles results in only low brake forces being generated before the test terminates as a result of the vehicle’s wheels locking-up. The low brake force readings that are obtained don’t sufficiently test the brake in a way that represents on-road braking with a laden vehicle.

7. How do anti-lock braking systems (ABS) work?

ABS monitors and compares individual wheel speeds and adjusts braking effort to a wheel when the speed at which it rotates decreases at faster rate compared with the other wheels, ie, the wheel starts to lock.  ABS reduces braking force when a wheel starts to lock, so that the vehicle’s brakes always operate to the best effect. ABS can be particularly effective at preventing jack-knifing as a result of wheel-lock, and wheel-lock on the steering axles, which safeguards the directional control of the vehicle.

8. Does the Rule take account of international Standards?

Yes. The proposed requirements are based on international best practice.

9. What will it cost to meet the new requirements in the Rule?

Any increased costs to operators will be minor. A cost/benefit analysis was carried out on the proposed new requirements and it was found that the safety benefits outweigh the costs.

The average additional cost of requiring new vehicles to be supplied with LSVs or ABS is estimated at about $1800 per vehicle.

10. When does the Rule start to apply?

Most of the requirements in the Rule start to apply on 1 March 2007, except for those relating to the introduction of better braking technology, which apply from 1 July 2008.

11. What will happen to those who don't comply?

Non-compliance with the Rule will be picked up during periodic CoF inspections and through random New Zealand Police Commercial Vehicle Investigation Unit (CVIU) checks. Offences and penalties will be included in the Land Transport (Offences and Penalties) Regulations 1999.

12. Has the Rule been consulted on?

Yes. A yellow draft of the Rule was released in June 2004 for public comment. The draft was distributed to about 500 interested parties and stakeholder groups and was available on the former Land Transport Safety Authority’s website.

13. How many public submissions were received and from what sort of organisations?

There were 49 submissions in total, mainly from vehicle industry organisations including the Truck-Trailer Manufacturers’ Federation, Road Transport Forum, Motor Industry Association, Road Transport Association, Heavy Haulage Association, heavy-vehicle brake specialist certifiers and representatives of the logging industry.

14. What changes have been made in response to the submissions?

While the overall policy of the Rule has not changed, the Rule was redrafted to provide more flexibility in relation to the procedures to be used when carrying out brake performance assessments. This was in response to industry concerns about the practicalities and cost of one of the laden brake tests, which is one of the methods available for determining brake performance.

15. How can I obtain a copy of the Rule?

A printed copy of the Rule will be available for purchase from selected bookshops throughout New Zealand that sell government legislation. A copy can also be obtained by contacting the printers and distributors (Wickliffe) at freephone 0800 226 440. The Rule and related information material will also available in the Resources & manuals section.

16. How can I obtain further information about the Rule?

To obtain further information about the Rule, contact the NZ Transport Agency Helpdesk on freephone 0800 699 000.


Technical questions

1. Which vehicle classes does the Rule cover?

The Rule applies to all heavy vehicles, ie those with a gross vehicle mass (GVM) that exceeds 3500 kg.

It covers vehicles of Classes MD3, MD4, ME, NB, NC, TC, and TD. It also includes vehicles outside these classes with a GVM that exceeds 3500 kg. It does not cover articulated vehicles with a GVM exceeding 3500 kg if the GVM of each vehicle in the combination is less than 3500 kg.

2. What requirements for heavy-vehicle brakes will the Rule update or replace?

There are regulations, codes, policy statements and various New Zealand Gazette notices setting brake requirements that heavy vehicles have been required to comply with before being allowed on the road, and when being operated on the road.

The legal requirements for heavy vehicle brakes, which will be revoked when the Rule comes into force, are mostly in the Heavy Motor Vehicle Regulations 1974, the Goods Service Vehicle (Constructional) Regulations 1936, the Traffic Regulations 1976, the Passenger Service Vehicle Construction Regulations 1978, and the Transport (Vehicle Standards) Regulations 1990. Requirements are also prescribed in the Heavy Vehicle Brake Code, the Interim Performance Specification for Heavy Vehicle Braking, and Ministry of Transport Policy Statement 3.

3. Will there be specific requirements for different vehicle types?

Yes. While all heavy vehicles will have to meet general safety requirements for service, parking and emergency brakes, there are specific requirements for non-combination and combination heavy vehicles.

Combination vehicles are defined as those that tow other vehicles. Heavy vehicles used in combination are typically large trucks and prime movers, heavy trailers and semi-trailers. These vehicles are used in truck-trailer, semi-vehicle, B-train and A-train configurations.

Non-combination heavy vehicles are typically small and medium-sized trucks and Passenger Service Vehicles.

4. What requirements will apply to vehicles used in combination?

Vehicles used in combination will have to meet additional requirements to ensure balanced brake performance between the vehicles, regardless of the load distribution between them.

All heavy vehicles used in combination, first registered or modified in New Zealand after 1 July 2008, will have to be fitted with better brake technology (Load Sensing Valves (LSVs) or an Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), or another control system that includes the ABS function).

Vehicles fitted with this better brake technology will be safer than vehicles that do not have this technology, because they will have balanced brake performance for all conditions of loading.

Vehicles fitted with better brake technology and those that are not will be able to be used together because the brake performance of such mixed vehicle combinations will not be any less than that of a combination made up only of existing technology brakes. However, to maximise the safe performance of combinations with mixed brake technology the vehicle that is not fitted with the better brake technology should be kept in a laden condition as much as possible. This may mean transferring a load from the vehicle fitted with better technology brakes to the vehicle without these.

5. What requirements will apply to vehicles not used in combination?

If vehicles not used in combination have been imported and not modified, they will have to comply with an approved overseas standard. If the vehicle was manufactured or modified in New Zealand, it would have to meet requirements specified in the Rule equivalent to those of an approved overseas standard. These requirements will ensure that vehicles not used in combination have improved brake balance at any load condition.

6. Are tractors and agricultural trailers covered by the Rule?

Yes. A breakaway brake on an agricultural trailer will no longer be required.

Most of the current requirements for tractors and agricultural trailers will continue. This means that a tractor and agricultural trailer combination will have to meet the brake performance requirements that apply to the tractor itself, whether or not the trailer had a brake fitted.

7. What requirements will apply to brake-exempted vehicles?

The Rule specifies that brake-exempted vehicles (eg, those with self-laying tracks), must have controls that enable the driver to manoeuvre, stop and hold the vehicle stationary.

8. What standards does the Rule cover?

The Rule incorporates overseas standards for heavy-vehicle brakes and for brake hoses and flexible brake tubing.

9. What is the statutory basis for the Rule?

The Land Transport Act 1998 (the Act) provides for the Minister of Transport to make land transport rules that govern the safety and licensing of vehicles.

Section 155(a) and (b) of the Act states that Rules may set out standards and requirements concerning vehicles, including their construction, repair, maintenance, modification, and requirements concerning systems, components, devices, fittings, or equipment to be incorporated in the construction of, fitted to, or carried in or on motor vehicles, or to be used by the driver or any other person.

Last updated: 15 September 2006