Does the UK need a nationwide safer lorry standard? Part 2

This is part two of the article, which originally appeared in Freight in the City’s sister publication Commercial Motor.

With regards to London’s increased enforcement powers, the FTA expressed concern over TfL’s “unilateral approach” to regulating the freight sector, in particular the speed of rolling out new requirements.

It said any amendments to rules governing the safety of vehicles on the road are historically evidence-led, in consultation with industry, proportionate in cost/benefit terms, and generally only applied to new vehicles to allow time for the market to comply.

“Following the introduction of the London SLS, the mayor has announced he now wants to require all HGVs operating in London to have transparent panels in side doors, possibly sensors, and also for construction vehicles to avoid turning left. Industry wants these issues to be discussed and considered with the same rigour that the DfT would apply,” it said.

This would be to ensure that genuine benefit is achieved at a minimised cost, it said, as each change potentially adds cost to delivering the goods that the UK relies on. Small operators in particular will be disadvantaged by sudden changes. “The DfT must reassert its role as the body which controls national commercial vehicle standards,” the FTA said.

The association also called on the government’s enforcement strategy to focus more resources on the LCV sector, which it said is poorly performing with more than half of vans failing their annual MoTs.

It said compliant van operator members despair of next to no enforcement of the sector and urged for more funding to be allocated to enforcing the three million vans on UK roads.

Nonetheless, the DVSA is now increasingly “sophisticated and forward-thinking” in the targeting of its enforcement actions, the FTA said. Remote enforcement and earned recognition schemes were welcomed and should enable the DVSA to spend more time targeting rogue operators.