In almost all Australian jurisdictions, it is a requirement for vehicles carrying oversize loads to be accompanied by an escort vehicle. An escort vehicle is driven by an authorised person, such as a police officer or transport officer, to direct traffic when there is a vehicle carrying oversize loads. Each state and territory has laws that govern the requirements of an escort vehicle. This article offers a guide to fleet managers regarding escort vehicles in Australia.
Why an Escort Vehicle?
A pilot or escort vehicle are used interchangeably. The car gives advance warning to other road users to react and respond accordingly when facing an oversize vehicle. You might be forced to use more than one escort car depending on your jurisdiction and the dimensions of an oversize vehicle. Therefore, escort vehicles reduce the likelihood of accidents and traffic snarl-ups.
Licence for Escort Vehicle
Escort vehicle drivers might be required to hold specific accreditations depending on the jurisdiction. For instance, in the Australian Capital Territory and New South Wales, an escort vehicle is driven by a police officer. Furthermore, an escort car driver does not require a special licence or accreditation. In the Northern Territory, an escort vehicle can be driven by police or an authorised operator. However, a driver must be licenced or accredited to escort an oversize vehicle. In Western Australia, a person must pass a heavy vehicle pilot licence course to become a traffic escort warden. Other jurisdictions, such as Victoria, Queensland and Tasmania, require accreditation for operators of escort vehicles. Therefore, it is critical to check the certification and licensing requirements of each state, especially if moving oversize cargo between state lines.
Notifying the Authorities
Escort arrangements must be made a few days before starting a journey because of the paperwork and measurements of an oversize vehicle. Measurements that should be taken include the number of tyres on every axle, number of axles, length, height and width of an oversize vehicle, and mass of each axle, among others. Such measurements are critical since they must be presented to the person driving an escort vehicle, whether a police officer or any other authorised individual.
Apart from the legal lighting requirements, an escort vehicle should be fitted with flashing warning beacons on the roof. The beacons should provide 360-degree visibility for other road users. Also, an escort vehicle should continuously illuminate its headlights to alert oncoming traffic of the presence of a vehicle carrying an abnormal load. Check with your respective transport authority regarding lighting requirements and subsequent use when on the road.