Thursday, October 3, 2013

Road Haulage Operators with Vans Need New VOSA Guidance to Stay Legal

On Line Leaflets Can Prevent Prosecution or Worse While Other Government Action Cheers Industry
Shipping News Feature

UK – In an effort to assist those in the road haulage sector who run smaller grades of vehicles, the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) recently published a couple of leaflets of particular relevance to operators and drivers of vans. Both are free to download and whilst the first ‘Staying Legal’ is a short-catch all guide to the basics of running a light goods vehicle, the second ‘Best Practice Guide’ aims to ensure the high failure rate of vans at MOT test is reduced by the driver being aware of what to look for.

The ‘Staying Legal’ .pdf contains a useful step by step checklist of everything a driver should look for on a regular basis plus written advice on precise licence requirements, loads carried, driving laws, maintenance and roadside stops together with the likely penalties for transgressors.

‘Best Practice’ covers much the same ground but has more detailed advice for vehicle operators and has direct weblinks covering such things as drivers hours and working time directives whilst containing some frightening statistics. These include the facts that VOSA vehicle checks on almost 11,000 vehicles last year revealed 93% of vans were found to be overloaded, 63% had serious mechanical defects and there is an overall initial failure rate for vans undergoing MOT tests of 50%.

Bearing in mind you can link directly to these documents from this article, there really is now no excuse for anyone to not take a look if they have the responsibility of running even one van and have read this. Even the most experienced operator is likely to learn or understand something particularly from the ‘Best Practice’ guide. Head of VOSA Enforcement Policy Gordon MacDonald commented:

“It’s well known by people in the motor trade that there is a high first time MOT failure rate for this type of vehicle. Many of the owners are running small to medium businesses and it must cause inconvenience, especially loss of income, while their vehicles are off the road. We want to work with them to increase their awareness that a regularly serviced and well maintained vehicle will mean their business is more efficient and they won’t risk having to let customers down because they can’t do the job.

“This publication is a collaboration with trade representatives involved in the industry; and VOSA working with them to come up with a workable solution. It is hoped that this [Best Practice] guide will prove to be a valuable tool to help drive up standards of those operating vans for business or private use, making the UK road network a safer environment for all users.”

In other road freight news the Road Haulage Association (RHA) has given a warm welcome to the government’s recent decision to freeze the level of fuel duty for the duration of this Parliament, ‘provided that the available money could be found’. The announcement was taken as a nod by the RHA to its pre-Budget submission in February this year that the government should commit to no further duty increases and RHA director of policy Jack Semple, commented:

“Haulage firms will take on board the Chancellor’s pledge not to increase on this tax on the UK supply chain and will develop their business plans accordingly. We should remember that UK fuel duty is still by far the highest anywhere in the EU. The Chancellor should take the bold step to cut duty, which, as has been demonstrated by independent research commissioned by the RHA for the FairFuelUK Campaign, would boost growth and create jobs.”

Whilst on the subject of government the 22nd October will see Stephen Hammond MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport, address some of the road transport industry's most senior executives at the 2013 Commercial Vehicle Forum to be held at London’s British Museum.