Using agricutural pilots to accompany oversize agricultural vehicles

Oversize Vehicles -1

In November 2016, Pilot Vehicle Regulations (PVRs) were introduced into the Road Traffic (Vehicles) Regulations 2014 to improve the standard of the heavy vehicle pilot industry, and increase road user safety.

The PVRs stipulate that the driver of a pilot vehicle must hold a Heavy Vehicle Pilot Licence.

In November 2016, Pilot Vehicle Regulations (PVRs) were introduced into the Road Traffic (Vehicles) Regulations 2014 to improve the standard of the heavy vehicle pilot industry, and increase road user safety. The PVRs stipulate that the driver of a pilot vehicle must hold a Heavy Vehicle Pilot Licence.

Following on from this, Main Roads developed the Heavy Vehicle Agricultural Pilot Authorisation 2017. Under the provisions of the PVRs, this Authorisation recognised the agricultural industry’s need to move oversize agricultural vehicles, the issues associated with engaging licensed heavy vehicle pilots for these local moves, and the impracticality of requiring seasonal staff to obtain a Heavy Vehicle Pilot Licence. The Authorisation allowed Agricultural Pilots to accompany an oversize agricultural vehicle up to 6 metres in width (subject to appropriate conditions) to ensure it did not have an adverse impact on road safety.

Since its introduction, Main Roads has continued to work with the agricultural industry to explore possible options to expand the Authorisation, in order to allow Agricultural Pilots to safely accompany and facilitate the movement of larger oversize agricultural vehicles.

Chart of Agri-vehicles for WA

An updated Heavy Vehicle Agricultural Pilot Authorisation 2018 was subsequently released last year which replaced the 2017 authorisation. This new authorisation allows Agricultural Pilots to accompany oversize agricultural vehicles up to 7.5 metres in width, without the need to hold a Heavy Vehicle Pilot Licence. To ensure road safety is not compromised, appropriate conditions and restrictions continue to be applied. These include but are not limited to:

  • The Agricultural Pilot is not permitted to accompany an oversize agricultural vehicle for a distance of more than 100 kilometres, from the point of origin to final destination; and
  • The Agricultural Pilot must only accompany an oversize agricultural vehicle while it is travelling outside the Perth metropolitan area; and
  • When using an Agricultural Pilot, the oversize agricultural vehicle is restricted to Local Government roads, unless it is necessary to use a State road to get to the nearest Local Government road, or the origin and destination are both located on the State road; and
  • If the distance travelled on a State road exceeds one kilometre, at least one Licensed Heavy Vehicle Pilot must accompany the oversize agricultural vehicle.

Agri-Pilot Vehicles-1

In addition, the new authorisation allows an oversize agricultural vehicle to be moved from gate to gate on a Local Government road, for a distance not exceeding one kilometre, without the need for a pilot vehicle, provided appropriate traffic management is in place.

The following table outlines the revised dimension limits and corresponding minimum number of Agricultural Pilots required to accompany the oversize agricultural vehicle.

In conjunction with the introduction of the new authorisation, Main Roads has developed the Agricultural Pilot Operational Requirements to assist Agricultural Pilots in understanding what is expected of them to ensure the safe movement of oversize agricultural vehicles.

The primary role of the Agricultural Pilot is to provide a visual advanced warning and communicate with oncoming vehicles about the approaching oversize agricultural vehicle. Agricultural Pilots should remain on UHF channel 40, unless prompted to use a different channel by another vehicle in the vicinity.

  • Pilot vehicle lighting and signage requirements;
  • Travelling position for the Agricultural Pilot Vehicle(s);
  • Convoy travel requirements; and
  • Incident reporting requirements.

Farming for Vitamins

Prior to accompanying an oversize agricultural vehicle, it is important that Agricultural Pilots familiarise themselves with all the requirements specified in both the Heavy Vehicle Agricultural Pilot Authorisation 2018 and the Agricultural Pilot Operational Requirements.

To download a copy of these documents, visit the Pilots page on www.mainroads.wa.gov.au or, for further information, call the Heavy Vehicle Helpdesk on 138 486.

Improved Access Arrangements for Agricultural Vehicles

While rubber tracked agricultural vehicles are becoming more prevalent, there is currently no provision for them in the Road Traffic (Vehicles) Regulations 2014, meaning that an exemption for appropriate access must be obtained from the Department of Transport (DoT).

In conjunction with the Agricultural Vehicle Advisory Committee (AVAC) and key agricultural industry representatives, Main Roads and DoT have developed a suitable exemption for dual, quad and half rubber tracked agricultural vehicles that meet all the requirements in the Rubber Tracked Agricultural Machine Operating Conditions.

Some of these conditions include:

  • The rubber tracked agricultural vehicle must have rubber tracks fitted to at least one axle group;
  • The rubber tracked agricultural vehicle must not exceed a total gross mass of 28.0 tonnes;
  • The rubber tracked agricultural vehicle must meet the minimum axle spacing’s;
  • The rubber tracks fitted to the agricultural vehicle must be at least 406 millimetres wide; and
  • Vehicle lighting and signage requirements

The conditions provide state-wide access however, they exclude the Perth metropolitan area and some Local Government zones.

In addition to the introduction of the Rubber Tracked Agricultural Machine Operating Conditions, the existing Agricultural Machine Operating Conditions, which apply to wheeled agricultural vehicles, have been updated to reflect the Agricultural Machine Order 2018 and Heavy Vehicle Agricultural Pilot Authorisation 2018.

Quad Track - Front View Portrait

The operating conditions for rubber tracked and wheeled agricultural vehicles have consistent requirements. They allow an oversize agricultural vehicle to be up to 7.5 metres in width, 12.5 metres in length and 6 metres in height. The minimum number of pilot vehicles required to accompany an oversize agricultural vehicle are set out in the operating conditions and are consistent with the Heavy Vehicle Agricultural Pilot Authorisation 2018.

A new Agricultural Machines Restricted Bridge List has also been developed to provide one reference point for operators to identify restricted bridges that apply to the particular rubber tracked or wheeled agricultural machine they are operating.

Operators should familiarise themselves with all the requirements stipulated in the operating conditions and new Agricultural Machines Restricted Bridge List, which can be found on the Agricultural Vehicles page on the Main Roads website. For further information please visit www.mainroads.wa.gov.au or call the Heavy Vehicle Helpdesk on 138 486.

Agricultural Machines that do not meet these requirements may still be eligible to be licensed and obtain a permit, subject to individual vehicle assessment. DoT will consult with Main Roads as part of the licensing process for these machines.

Article kindly provided by MainRoads Western Australia.

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