Thursday, August 13, 2015

Road Haulage Operators Warned of Precise New Regulations in Force from September

Heavy Penalties for Transgressors Expected
Shipping News Feature

UK – Against a backdrop of resistance from freight interests the new Safer Lorry Scheme is to come into force in London on September 1, and road haulage operators are advised the precise nature of the new regulations will need to be carefully adhered to. The scheme will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and will require all vehicles over 3.5 tonnes to be fitted with sideguards and kerb view and front mirrors. The enforcement area is the entire London Low Emission Zone and operators breaching the rules face £50 fixed penalties or £1,000 court fines.

The problem will be especially acute for hauliers based outside the capital, many of whom are likely to be unaware of the changes until they are caught contravening the regulations. Objectors to the scheme, including such august bodies as the Freight Transport Association (FTA) say that, whilst all in favour of extra safety, defining ever more local and complex HGV regulations should not be the job of local authorities.

The scheme will be enforced by the police, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency and the joint DfT/TfL-funded Industrial HGV Taskforce. Those who don’t comply will be referred for investigation by the relevant Traffic Commissioner. The FTA has described the regulations as ‘exceptionally precise’ with its Head of Engineering, Andy Mair saying:

“Dimension and installation requirements are extremely complex and operators who have to retro-fit their trucks to comply with the scheme need to be confident that sideguards have been put on correctly. As these vehicles are exempt from existing construction regulations, they will not be checked as part of the annual testing examination and operators may only realise that they have incorrectly installed sideguards following enforcement action and fines under the new Safer Lorry Scheme.

“The FTA strongly advises operators to check their vehicle types against the exempted vehicle list on TfL’s website, and if they have vehicles which require sideguards and mirrors to be fitted, ensure they have these correctly installed.”

The FTA’s UKAS-accredited Vehicle Inspection Service offers compliance checks on the correct installation of sideguards and mirrors to the new requirements, which are carried out by highly qualified and experienced vehicle inspection engineers. Compliance checks can be carried out on site at operators’ premises by the FTA visiting inspection service.