What is the chain of responsibility?

When a customer rings to book a digger for a job they’ve organised at home or for a contracting job we always stress the question about the suitability of their vehicle to tow a digger on a trailer.

“Does your vehicle have a certified towbar rated at 2500kg or greater?”

The reason this is an important question is obviously for the health and safety of the public at large and the driver of the vehicle.

It isn’t good enough for just the driver to make the decision on the towbar suitability. The certification plate must be sighted by us and it should be in a fit state of repair.

For example when driving along, the tow ball or draw bar breaks leaving the trailer with digger attached out of control and careering down the road, which then slams violently into another vehicle or pedestrian.  The crash site is investigated and it is shown that the towbar was not certified, this means everyone involved in the chain of events that led to this accident would be held accountable.

So it would be both the driver of the vehicle and the person or company who attached the trailer in front of the judge trying to explain themselves.

This chain of responsibility is part of the Land Transport Amendment Act 2005. It holds that every person in the road transport operations chain shares the responsibility and is held accountable for influencing driver behaviour and compliance. In the past, enforcement agencies have focused on the drivers and operators as the key party responsible for compliance. The chain of responsibility recognises that breaches of compliance are often caused or influenced by the actions of others within the industry or workplace.

In the case above, Truck & Digger Hire Ltd would have spotted the non compliant towbar and offered to deliver the digger to site for you.  Saving everyone the grief of anything going wrong and making sure we stay safe, insured and out of jail.

Understanding your Transport Service Licence


Image result for tsl structure nzta


At Truck & Digger Hire Limited we would like you to know all of the laws and regulations that apply to you when hiring our equipment.

We will try to cover these applicable laws and regulations in a series of blogs and how you can best comply with them.

To start lets explain just what is a Transport Service Licence (TSL).

A TSL is an additional license to your standard drivers licence.  It is issued by the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) and it comprises of five other licences depending on your commercial activity.  These are:

  • Rental Service Licence
  • Goods Service Licence (GSL)
  • Small Passenger Service Licence
  • Large Passenger Service Licence
  • Vehicle Recovery Licence

For example Truck & Digger Hire Limited requires two TSL’s, these are a GSL (# 0248172) and a Rental Service Licence (#0248320).  A Rental Service Licence is fairly self explanatory but a GSL isn’t.

To start lets describe one of the more common scenarios which applies to hiring a vehicle with a GLW (Gross Laden Weight) of 6000kg or more.  Which is incidentally the maximum weight that the holder of a class 1 drivers licence (car) can operate.

Often customers ring requiring a 5 tonne tipper truck.  This means they want a truck that can carry a load of 5 tonne which makes the typical GVM (Gross Vehicle Mass) of those trucks in the range of 9 – 11 tonne.  Well over the class 1 licence limit.

When asked if they have the appropriate licences and the tell me they have their class 2 licence ( a rigid vehicle with a GLW of 6001kg – 18000kg) or class 4 licence (a rigid vehicle with a GLW of more than 18000kg).  This is great, it means they have the appropriate drivers licence to operate the truck.  But when asked if they have a GSL they say no or aren’t sure what we’re asking about.

So what is a goods service?

A goods service delivers or carries goods, whether or not for hire or reward, using a motor vehicle that has a gross vehicle mass of 6000kg or more, including one that is on hire’to carry goods.” From NZTA

So this means that if you for example are a contracting company, drainlayer, landscaper or basically anyone else who moves goods about in a commercial capacity (GLW of 6001kg or more) you need a GSL.

To get a GSL, it says on page 82 of the NZTA 2017/18 official road code for heavy vehicle drivers,

For a goods service, large passenger service or vehicle recovery service, either the licence holder or some other person in control of the transport service must have a certificate of knowledge of law and practice.”

To get this certificate of knowledge of law and practice you need to sit a test arranged by a subcontractor of NZTA called Aspeq.  It is open book test which you are given 2.5 hours to complete, and you need to get 80% or more of the questions correct.  There is a fee of course which at the time of writing (6/08/18) was $449.80

Once you have your GSL it is displayed on the bottom RH (looking at the windscreen standing in front of the truck) and you can get multiple labels to put one in each of your trucks.  Consequences of failing to display a TSL label is outlined here http://police.govt.nz/sites/default/files/publications/display-of-tsl-label-and-enforcement-consequences-guide.pdf

What if I have a class 2 licence and just want to hire a truck for jobs around the home?

This is of real concern to the those of us who want a bigger truck to do larger jobs around the home, or maybe to help a friend or family member with one of their projects.

Some vehicles with a Gross Laden Weight (GLW) of 6000kgs or more do not require a goods service licence:

  • a service involving the carriage of goods for personal domestic purposes where the service is not operated for more than a total of seven days in any 12-month period;
    • For example – person wants to move his household furniture in the weekend and wants to hire a > 6000kg truck. They can hire the vehicle from a rental company without having to supply a Goods Service Licence (GSL) as the vehicle is being used for domestic purposes and is not being operated for more than a total of seven days in a 12 month period. All the hire company would need to ensure is that the hirer has the appropriate driver’s licence to drive a heavy class vehicle.

What is the chain of responsibility?

The chain of responsibility holds that all the people who influence a driver’s behaviour and compliance should, and must, be held accountable if that influence results in non compliance with traffic rules and laws.

From https://www.nzta.govt.nz/commercial-driving/chain-of-responsibility/

This basically means that a hire company cannot provide a rental truck with a GLW over 6000kg without the customers provision of a GSL, unless they plan to use it for domestic purposes.  The penalties of which the hire company would be liable if convicted could be a fine of up to $25,000.

In conclusion

So as you can see if you are a commercial operator of a goods service you will need to seriously consider getting yourself or your company a GSL, or face fines of up to $10,000 (for first offence, up to $25,000 for subsequent offences).  Or in addition the court may impound vehicles used in an unlicenced service for up to 90 days (no matter who owns them).

How to apply for a GSL, click on the link below.



Thank you for taking the time to read this post and we hope it has helped inform you of your obligations when operating a truck for your commercial activity.


Ian J.