Abnormal Vehicle

What is an
abnormal load?

An indivisible (for practical purposes) object that, due to its dimensions and/or mass, cannot be transported on a vehicle or vehicles without exceeding the limitations of the dimensions or mass as described in the Road Traffic & Transportation Act 1999 (Act No. 22 of 1999).

Which vehicles are
classified as abnormal?

Any vehicle or a combination of vehicles that, by virtue of its dimensions or mass, or a combination of both, does not comply with the requirements of the Road Traffic & Transportation Act 1999 (Act No. 22 of 1999).

Why should abnormal
load fees be charged?

The fees are derived from the user-pay principle. It therefore relates to the compensation by abnormal vehicles for the damage and/or obstruction caused to the road infrastructure.

Which are the legal instruments that authorised the charging thereof?

The Road Traffic & Transport Act of 1999 and its regulation Road Traffic & Transport Regulation of 2001 deal with compliance to the Road Traffic Sign, classified as Mandatory signs (blue & white) meaning that all vehicles above 3500 kg are required to pass through the nearest Weighbridge within the borders of Namibia.

How are these fees calculated and who determines the tariffs thereof?

The calculation of the mass fees is based on an involved set of relationships between tyre pressures, wheel spacing and axle loading. As a result, the total accountable damage factor is calculated by means of a computer program based on current engineering practice.

Who is entitled to calculate these fees?

A computerised program operated by a professional engineer and a permit officer calculate the fees. The permit officer, with the support of a professional engineer, is entitled to calculate the fees.

How and when are the associated permits issued?

The permits are issued after approval by the professional engineer. The associated fees are to be settled at the Roads Authority’s NaTIS sub-division before any trip can be undertaken.

Who collects
the fees?

The permits are issued after approval by the professional engineer. The associated fees are to be settled at the Roads Authority’s NaTIS sub-division before any trip can be undertaken.

What are these
fees used for?

The fees form part of the road user charges imposed by the RFA. They are earmarked to fund projects and programs for the preservation and development of the national road network. They are further allocated towards the maintenance of urban and rural roads, traffic information management, traffic law enforcement, road safety and related road research programs.

On what basis are the permits issued? Trip based/Monthly/Quarterly/Annually

Four different kinds of permits are issued.

The permits are categorised as:

  • trip permits;
  • week permits;
  • month permits;
  • year permits.

Trip permits are issued for a single trip: a certain number of days are given, depending on the distance to be travelled.

The week, month and year permits are all issued to carriers with minor abnormalities.

What are the criteria used for these purposes?

The mass, height and width are the criteria used to determine if the applicant will be issued a period permit or not.

The period permits are not issued if any axle group is abnormal/overloaded. Furthermore, no period permit is issued if the width of the vehicle is more than 3.1 meters or if the height is more than 4.7 meters.

What is meant by Embargo days?

Embargo days refer to the official suspension of movement for abnormal vehicles. These days are typically defined as weekend days, public holidays, festive season periods, school holidays and special events days.

What types of conditions are attached with abnormal load permits?

Below are the conditions attached with abnormal load permits. Take note that the conditions of abnormal load permits are distinct, depending on the dimensions and subjected load.

Conditions for
a period permit

  • The load mass as indicated on the application form, should not, at any given condition, exceed the load mass which is applied for, throughout the permit’s validity period.
  • A Year Period Permit is entitled to the total distance of 24 000 km, therefore, should either of the two (the expiry date of the Permit or the distance of 24 000 km) lapse/be reached, then the permit has to be renewed.
  • Normal legal procedures will be followed, as well as the punishment thereof, should any permit holder be found to have violated this condition.

Conditions for a trip permit
that require police escort.

  • Prior arrangements must be made with the Namibian Police for the provision of two police escorts.
  • The police escorts must guide the abnormal vehicle throughout its journey.
  • The Operator must provide two own escorts, one at the front and one at the rear. The front escort vehicle must be fitted with a height measuring gauge.
  • The abnormal width of the vehicles must be clearly signalled to other road users.
  • The abnormal vehicles must lay-by periodically to avoid traffic congestion (may be directed by the accompanying police officers).
  • The abnormal vehicles must not travel during traffic peak hours in urban areas and on sections most affected by commuter traffic (Windhoek – Rehoboth, Windhoek – Okahandja, Swakopmund – Walvis Bay).
  • Because of the height of the vehicle, bridge clearance must be verified and, where required, use alternative routes and bypasses (, Windhoek western bypass, Karibib).
  • When crossing bridges, the vehicle must travel in the centre of the carriageway, i.e. making use of both lanes.
  • All vehicles must be cleared from bridges and culverts before the abnormal vehicle crosses.
  • The width of the bridges above kerbs must be checked against the width of the load.
  • Any damage to road infrastructure and pavement will be incurred to the abnormal vehicle operator’s cost.
  • A letter of acceptance of the above conditions must be presented prior to obtaining the permit.

Who is enforcing the
abnormal permit conditions?

The Roads Authority’s transport inspectors, weighbridge personnel and the Namibian Police officials.

How are these
conditions enforced?

Weighbridge personnel:
  • Confirm the validity of the permits
  • Verify the vehicle dimensions and load configuration with the aid of computerised systems
Transport inspectors:
  • Inspect the abnormal vehicles for dimensions and load configuration compliance
Namibian police:
  • Provide escort services to permit holders after verification of permit conditions