Forklifts, bulldozers, trams and other special-type vehicles

►R, T and W endorsements for special-type vehicles

►F endorsements for driving forklifts

Updated: 18 March 2010

Vehicles such as forklifts, trams and tractions engines have features that may affect the standard driver licence requirements. There are also additional requirements for driving with loads that are above the legal maximums. To drive these vehicles or in these situations you may need a licence endorsement or additional qualifications to verify you have the skills to operate your vehicle safely.

Where you need a special-type vehicle endorsement

If you drive a special-type vehicle (other than a forklift) on the road, you must have an F, R, T or W endorsement on your driver licence.

  • The F endorsement is for vehicles that are forklifts.
  • The R endorsement is for vehicles that run on rollers.
  • The T endorsement is for vehicles that run on self-laying tracks.
  • The W endorsement is for vehicles that run on wheels that aren't forklifts, passenger vehicles, tractors, fire engines, trade vehicles or vehicle recovery service vehicles.

You must also have the right licence class for the weight of your vehicle.

To gain an F, R, T or W endorsement, you'll need to provide evidence that you've successfully completed an approved course that teaches specialist knowledge and skills to operate the vehicle safely.

See more information on where the F endorsement applies and what you have to do to meet the requirements.

See more information on where the R,T or W endorsement applies and what you have to do to meet the requirements.

You have overseas experience?

Contact us if you'd like recognition of your overseas experience as a special-type (F, R, T or W) vehicle operator.

Load pilots and overdimension permits

The standard dimensions of vehicles, loads and how much loads can overhang are set by law. However, the law also provides for occasions when loads and vehicles exceed the standard limits.

There are four categories of overdimension vehicles and loads.

In each case you must apply to us for an overdimension permit which sets a number of requirements, including:

  • pre-travel route checks
  • required permissions, eg from railway operators
  • vehicle lighting
  • emergency service notifications.

You may also have to engage one or more suitably qualified load pilots to supervise the journey. There are two classes of load pilots each requiring different levels of training. See more about the detailed requirements for pilots and for overweight and oversize vehicles.

Traction engines

To steer or direct a traction engine you must hold a valid driver licence and one of the following:

  • a unit standard relating to steam driven vehicles (11157 or other equivalent unit standard)
  • an appropriate qualification or certificate of competency under the Boilers, Lifts and Cranes Act 1950 that was current immediately before 16 January 2006 and allowed you to steer a traction engine.

To drive, fire or operate a traction engine's pressure equipment and manage the engine's steam pressure levels you must hold a valid driver licence and one of the following:

  • a unit standard relating to steam driven vehicles (21754, 21755, or other equivalent unit standard)
  • an appropriate qualification or certificate of competency granted under the Boilers, Lifts and Cranes Act 1950 that was current immediately before 16 January 2006 and allowed you to operate traction engine pressure equipment.

Trams

A tram is a passenger vehicle that travels on rails, primarily on streets. Trams are not motor vehicles, but rather rail vehicles. The driver requirements for trams are based on an approved safety case developed and maintained by the tram operator. This safety case determines:

  • whether the tram driver requires a driver licence
  • whether the tram driver requires a passenger endorsement.

As a result the driver requirements can differ depending on the operation. Contact the particular service operator on what requirements apply.

Imitation trams

An imitation tram is a bus that looks like a tram, running on tyres rather than rails. These vehicles fall into the same category as buses and trolley buses.

Trolley bus

A trolley bus is a cross between a conventional bus and a tram. They look like a bus. But like trams, these buses operate on electricity through connection to overhead wires via trolley poles. Unlike trams, trolley buses are free to move, from lane to lane and in traffic and to the kerbside to pick up passengers.

To drive a trolley bus you need:

  • the correct heavy vehicle licence for the weight of the bus
  • a passenger endorsement on your licence.

F endorsements for driving forklifts

If you drive a forklift on the road, you must have an F endorsement on your driver licence.

Please note that the licence endorsement and licence class systems work together. Your licence has to cover both the type of vehicle and its weight.

A Class 1 driver licence (with an F endorsement) covers forklifts with a gross laden weight of up to 18,000kg.

A Class 2 driver licence (with an F endorsement) covers forklifts with a gross laden weight exceeding 18,000kg.

If you're not sure whether you need an F endorsement, phone our driver licensing contact centre on 0800 822 422 or contact your nearest NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) office.

What is the definition of a 'road'?

The definition of a road, for the application of transport laws, is very broad. It includes not only streets and highways, but also any place the public has access to – including bridges, culverts, beaches, riverbeds, reserve lands, wharves and road shoulders.

If you drive a forklift in any of these areas, the rules relating to registration, licensing and general driver behaviour all apply.

What do I need to have and do?

If you wish to obtain an F endorsement, you must hold a full licence (other than a motorcycle licence).

You'll need to provide evidence that you have successfully completed an approved course that teaches specialist knowledge and skills relating to driving a forklift safely on a road.

Note: The approved course will cover driver licensing requirements only. Your employer may require you to attend occupational safety and health (OSH) courses as well as having the F endorsement on your driver licence.

 

Applying for the endorsement

You can apply for an F endorsement at your nearest driver licensing agent (participating offices of the Automobile Association, Vehicle Testing New Zealand and Vehicle Inspection New Zealand).

You need to bring:

  • a completed DL19 application form
  • evidence of your identity, eg your current driver licence (see factsheet 20 for a full list)
  • evidence of your name and current address, eg a recent bill or an account statement (see factsheet 20 for a full list)
  • a certificate showing you have successfully completed an approved forklift endorsement course
  • a cheque, cash or EFTPOS card to pay the application fee of $44.

Note: Your F endorsement will expire on the same date as your driver licence.

Eyesight screening check

You must prove that your eyesight meets the required standard each time you apply for a new licence class or endorsement or renew your licence. To do this you can:

  • present a satisfactory eyesight certificate issued by a New Zealand-registered optometrist (Note: This certificate must be no more than 60 days old)
  • present a satisfactory medical certificate issued by a New Zealand-registered medical practitioner (Note: This certificate must be no more than 60 days old and must specifically cover eyesight)
  • pass an eyesight screening check at a driver licensing agent.

Note: The agents' eyesight screening machines eliminate the need for many drivers to be tested by an optometrist or medical practitioner. However, if you don't pass the screening check then you must provide one of the certificates listed before your application can proceed. Some drivers choose to supply a certificate instead of taking a screening check. If you have vision in only one eye you must present an eye certificate from a doctor or optometrist.

R, T and W endorsements for special-type vehicles

If you drive a special-type vehicle that isn't a forklift on the road, you must have an R, T or W endorsement on your driver licence.

  • The R endorsement is for vehicles that run on rollers.
  • The T endorsement is for vehicles that run on self-laying tracks.
  • The W endorsement is for vehicles that run on wheels that aren't forklifts, passenger vehicles, tractors, fire engines, trade vehicles or vehicle recovery service vehicles.

In addition to holding the appropriate special-type vehicle endorsement, you must also hold the appropriate full class of licence that covers the weight of the special-type vehicle you want to drive (see table below).

If you're not sure whether you need an endorsement, phone our driver licensing contact centre on 09 4424337 or contact your nearest NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) office.

Vehicle weight covered by licence class

Special-type vehicle Class 1 (full) Class 2 (full) Class 4 (full)
Runs on rollers or self-laying tracks Not more than 18,000 kg gross laden weight (GLW) More than 18,000 kg GLW
Runs on wheels – when driven on a road at a speed not exceeding 30 km/h Not more than 18,000 kg gross laden weight (GLW) More than 18,000 kg GLW
Runs on wheels - when driven on a road at a speed exceeding 30 km/h Not more than 4500 kg gross laden weight (GLW) More than 4500kg but not more than 18,000kg GLW More than 18,000 kg GLW

 

What's the definition of a 'road'?

The definition of a road, for the application of transport laws, is very broad. It includes not only streets and highways, but any place the public has access to – including bridges, culverts, beaches, riverbeds, reserve lands, wharves and road shoulders.

If you drive a special-type vehicle in any of these areas, the rules relating to registration, licensing and general driver behaviour all apply.

 

 What do I need, to get an R, T or W endorsement?

  • If you wish to obtain an R, T or W endorsement, you must hold a full licence (other than a motorcycle licence).
  • You'll need to provide evidence that you have successfully completed an approved course that teaches specialist knowledge and skills relating to the safe operation of the special-type vehicle.

 

Applying for the endorsement

You can apply for an R, T or W endorsement at your nearest NZTA driver licensing agent – selected branches of the, Vehicle Testing New Zealand (VTNZ) and Vehicle Inspection New Zealand (VINZ).

You need to bring:

  • a completed DL 19 application form
  • evidence of your identity (eg your current driver licence)
     
  • evidence of your name and current address, such as a recent bill or an account statement
  • a certificate showing you have successfully completed an appropriate and approved course
  • a cheque, cash or EFTPOS card to pay the application fee of $44 (per endorsement).

An R, T or W endorsement expires on the same date as your driver licence.

Eyesight requirements

You must prove that your eyesight meets the required standard. To do this you can:

  • present a satisfactory eyesight certificate issued by a New Zealand-registered optometrist (this certificate must be no more than 60 days old)
  • present a medical certificate issued by a New Zealand-registered medical practitioner (this certificate must be no more than 60 days old)
  • pass an eyesight screening check at a driver licensing agent.

Note: the eyesight screening machines eliminate the need for many drivers to be tested by an optometrist or medical practitioner. However, if you don’t pass the screening check then you must provide one of the certificates listed before your application can proceed. Some drivers choose to provide a certificate instead of taking a screening check.

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