Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Road Haulage Representatives Welcome London Freight Enforcement Partnership

New Initiative to Target Unsafe HGVs
Shipping News Feature

UK – Both the Freight Transport Association(FTA) and Road Haulage Association (RHA) have welcomed the launch of a new initiative set up by the Transport for London (TfL) and partner agencies which the aim to tackle unsafe HGVs, and take any non-compliant and unsafe commercial vehicles, drivers and operators off London’s streets. The two associations represent many of the capital’s road haulage operators and the London Freight Enforcement Partnership has been hailed by the FTA as ‘the right way to go and will enable a more intelligent approach to enforcement in the capital’.

The partnership, which is between TfL, the DVSA, the Metropolitan Police Service and the City of London Police, will build on the work in recent years of the Industrial HGV Task Force and Commercial Vehicle Units. The initiative will include more than 90 DVSA and police officers and a team of analysts, sharing intelligence and carrying out joint enforcement operations. Together they will have a range of expertise and powers to comprehensively address infringements, particularly by those who persistently do not comply with the law. This will also help the agencies work with the commercial vehicle industry to put serially non-compliant companies in London out of business. The London and South East Traffic Commissioner, Nick Denton, said:

“As the industry regulator for HGV operators, I have seen the value of the Industrial HGV Task Force first hand in the many licence holders who have been brought to my attention due to their failure to meet basic vehicle and driver safety standards. I therefore welcome the formation of this new enforcement partnership, which aims to build on the work of the Task Force, and shares two of the key objectives of the traffic commissioners - to reduce the burden on compliant operators and deal with those who pose the greatest risk to road safety.”

The London Freight Enforcement Partnership will also make the most of powers at their disposal. This will include better use of automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) technology for targeting vehicles and feeding reports about identified operator and driver non-compliance to the Traffic Commissioner.

In welcoming the collaboration, the FTA has said that it believes that the Partnership is a correct priority given the number of HGVs and cyclist incidents in London, and the involvement of seriously non-compliant vehicles in them. Speaking at the launch event, Christopher Snelling – FTA Head of National and Regional Policy added:

“The vast majority of road haulage operators take safety very seriously. The number of HGVs involved in fatal incidents has almost halved in the last ten years. This is partly due to the investment by the logistics industry in improved vehicles, drivers and operating practices. Increased enforcement using the intelligent, targeted approach taken in London is the right way to go as it allows us to prevent the small minority of operators who do not seek to follow the rules from using the roads. To have maximum effect this work needs to be part of a wide-ranging safety programme which encourages safe and legal behaviour by all road users.”

Speaking at the same event RHA director of policy Jack Semple welcomed the emphasis on targeting the worst offenders saying the industry as a whole resented its image being tarred by their activities; and also the unfair competition. He pointed out that the fact that a lorry has been involved in a fatal incident does not mean that the driver or his employer has been at fault. He said that the enforcement priorities and activity should be clear and well-publicised - that would itself be a deterrent; and that HGV enforcement should be put in the context of the range of activities that TfL and others are undertaking to make London safer.

October also marks the second anniversary of the Industrial HGV Task Force (IHTF), which has had great success in targeting the most dangerous commercial vehicles. The Task Force, jointly funded by TfL and the Department for Transport, acts as a deterrent against non-compliant companies that attempt to undercut those operating legitimately.

Since October 2013, more than 6,030 vehicles have been targeted and stopped, 87 vehicles seized, 4,500 prosecutions progressed through the Criminal Justice System and 2,134 fixed penalty notices issued for offences including lack of insurance, driving without the correct licence, unsafe tyres, vehicles not equipped with cycle safeguards, and not accurately recording driver hours.