What is a road? Plus Operator Certification Vrs Driver Licence requirements (Endorsement 'F').

The NZTA Driver Licensing rule 1999 contains the legal requirements for a driver to be fully licensed and to hold an endorsement F on their drivers licence also.

Therefore, if you drive a forklift on a road you must hold a current (WorkSafe NZ) Operators certification as well as an endorsement F on your driver’s licence.

To assist in summarising the statutory requirements please refer to the below in regard’s to forklift operation:


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, wharfs and road shoulders (whether as of right or not).

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

Because of the wide scope of the definition, the courts have developed a number of principles that they apply when considering whether a place is a road. These include that:

  • ‘public’ means the public in general and not just a section of the public.
  • It is not enough that the place is physically open to the public – they must be shown to be actually using it.

This assessment is made by the courts on a case-by-case basis and is dependant on the facts of each case. Therefore, it is not possible to give a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ in answer to the question, ‘Is this place a road?’.


If a forklift is used solely within the confines of the company premises and not on a public road, the Employer or PCBU and staff must comply with the provisions of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015, specifically Part 1(d) which requires employees to be trained. In addition, the Employer or PCBU shall also comply with the WorkSafe NZ Approved “Code of Practice” for Training Operators of Powered Industrial Lift Trucks (forklifts). In brief this code of practice requires that an operator shall be certified as professionally trained and properly tested in safe operation of forklifts for within the workplace.


If a forklift is at anytime driven on a road it has to be also registered as a vehicle like other road vehicles, display a WoF and the driver must satisfy two legal requirements:

  1. Be a current Certified forklift operator
  2. Hold a current full NZ Driver’s Licence and also have an endorsement ‘F’ on his / her licence.


Please refer to the NZTA web site for their own details in relation to ‘what is a road’ or the Factsheet on the endorsement ‘F’. 
NZTA - What is a Road?
NZTA - Factsheet Endorsement 'F'


s1 s2 s3 s5s6s7 Takeuchi truckV2