Aussie driver fined $4000 for insane load: 'Should’ve called in sick'

The whopping penalty has recently gone up for the 'big problem' it can cause.

A truck driver has copped a massive fine for travelling with a load "well over" the height limit for a Sydney tunnel.

At about 7.30am on Thursday, the semi-trailer was picked up by the height sensors when approaching the 9km Sydney Airport Tunnel.

Having hit the gantry dongles — an overhead structure supporting equipments like cranes, signs or cameras — the driver then stopped right before the tunnel on General Holmes Drive in Mascot and moved into a nearby breakdown lane.

Two photos of an over-height semi-trailer driver in Mascot, Sydney, with the total heigh of the load and the truck being 5.11 meters.
A semi-trailer driver in Sydney was caught driving with an oversized load before entering the Sydney Airport Tunnel in Mascot. Source: Facebook

The maximum permitted height for heavy vehicles in the Sydney Airport Tunnel is 4.4 metres, however the semi-trailer combined with the load it was carrying measured 5.11m high.

What is the penalty?

Following the debacle, members of the NSW Traffic and Highway Patrol Command along with NHVR Safety and Compliance Officers attended the scene.

The driver was handed a $4,097 fine and hit with 12 demerit points for disobeying a clearance/low clearance sign at a tunnel/bridge. They will also have to attend court.

It was later discovered the same driver had also allegedly disobeyed a low clearance sign at the railway overpass in Mascot.

Many commented on the post by Traffic and Highway Patrol Command NSW Police Force on Facebook, suggesting how much worse it could've been if the driver had gone into the tunnel.

"The damage this would have caused would be horrendous," one person said.

Others also shared their thoughts on how large the penalty was. "That's a big ouch!" one person said.

"Should’ve called in sick today," another joked.

Luckily, the incident didn't lead to any tunnel infrastructure damage or the tunnel having to close.

Fines for over-height vehicles have increased

Recently the NSW government has increased the penalties for drivers ignoring low clearance signs on bridges and tunnels, with the Minister for Roads, John Graham, telling 2GB the offence was "a big problem".

Only a few weeks ago an over-height truck entered Sydney’s Lane Cove Tunnel, causing huge delays and the tunnel to shut.

The penalty for this offence has now heavily gone up from $2,400 and six demerit points to $4,097 and 12 demerit points.

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