Department of State GrowthTransport

Definitions of Common Terms

Definitions are explanations of commonly used terms.

Garage Address

All registered vehicles now require a garage address which must be Tasmanian. The garage address may be different from the registered operator's residential address and cannot be a post office box address. The garage address is unique to each vehicle and different criteria apply for light and heavy vehicles. 

Registered Operator

A registered operator is the person(s) or body corporate recorded in the register as being responsible for the vehicle.

This includes:

  • payment of related vehicle fees and charges
  • any related fines and sanctions*, unless in certain circumstances, the registered operator was not using the vehicle at the time of offence.
  • ensuring the vehicle is suitable (roadworthy)
  • notifying the Registrar of Motor Vehicles of any changes to the recorded details.
  • From early 2005, if the vehicle is registered in joint operators, the designated operator will be the responsible.

Designated Operator

All vehicles with two (joint) registered operators are required to have a designated operator. The designated operator must be one of the two registered operators and would normally be the  person who is the usual driver of the vehicle.

Any offence for which an infringement notice is not physically handed to the driver at the time of the offence will be issue to the designated operator. This means that payment of the fine and demerit points will be the responsibility of the designated operator.

If the designated operator was not driving the vehicle at the time of the offence, that person can complete a Statutory Declaration to identify the driver and the infringement notice will be issued to that driver.

Light vehicle

Gross vehicle mass (GVM) of 4.5 tonnes or less. (Some light vehicles do not have a GVM.)

Heavy vehicle

A motor vehicle or a trailer that has a GVM greater than 4.5 tonnes.

Gross vehicle mass

Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) is the maximum loaded mass of the vehicle:

(a) as specified by the vehicle's manufacturer; or
(b) as specified by the Registrar if :
(i) the manufacturer has not specified a maximum loaded mass; or
(ii) the manufacturer cannot be identified; or
(iii) the vehicle has been modified to the extent that the manufacturer's specification is no longer appropriate.

Motor vehicle

Under the Vehicle and Traffic Act 1999 a motor vehicle is:

"a vehicle that is built to be propelled by a motor that forms part of the vehicle but does not include:

(a) an aircraft; or
(b) a motor vehicle that travels only on a railway, tramway or other fixed track; or
(c) a pedal cycle with an auxiliary motor (or motors) with a power output (or combined power output) of not more than 200 watts; or
(d) a self-propelled lawn or grass mower constructed and used solely for mowing lawn or grass that is not capable of travelling at a speed of more than 10 kilometres an hour; or
(e) a self-propelled wheelchair that is not capable of travelling at a speed of more than 10 kilometres an hour; or
(f) a self-propelled vehicle:
(i) not capable of travelling at a speed of more than 10 kilometres an hour; and
(ii) designed for off-road work in construction, maintenance or warehouse operation; and
(iii) only used on a public street for the purpose of loading or unloading the vehicle onto another vehicle or repositioning the vehicle at a worksite; or
(g) a vehicle of a class excluded by regulation from the ambit of this definition;"

Hovercraft (defined as air cushioned vehicles) are also not included as a motor vehicle through paragraph (g).

Public street

Under the Traffic Act 1925 a public street is:


  • street / road / lane / thoroughfare / footpath / bridge
  • or place open to or used by the public
  • or to which the public have or are permitted to have access
  • whether on payment of a fee or otherwise".

Beaches, crown land and other public areas fall within the definition. Even private land could in certain circumstances be defined as a "public street"