Sunday, 30 November 2014

Average speed cameras come in to force on the A9 Perth – Inverness . . .


Average speed cameras come in to force on the A9 Perth – Inverness

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Average speed cameras come in to force on the A9 Perth – Inverness as part of a package of measures to improve safety and save lives as a result.

At the same time, in a move that has been welcomed by the freight industry and driver organisations alike, the 50 mph HGV speed limit trial gets underway in a bid to reduce driver frustration.

Transport Minister Keith Brown said:
“Our efforts to improving safety on the A9 are underpinned by our commitment to dualling the A9 by 2025. This is clearly evidenced by our recent announcement regarding the four short-listed bidders for the Kincraig to Dalraddy section – a project we expect to get underway next summer, some six months earlier than originally planned.

“In the meantime, the A9 Safety Group ensures that key partners, such as the police, local authorities and transport & business groups are working closely to make a positive difference for A9 road users.

“The facts are clear that average speed cameras are effective in saving lives. Before and after studies of other average speed camera sites in the UK show, on average, they achieved a 61 per cent reduction in fatal and serious accidents. Average speed cameras encourage drivers to improve their behaviour and we are already seeing this on the A9.

“These cameras are part of package of measures being introduced make the A9 safer, including substantial investment in engineering improvements, such as improved lighting and signing, as well as education campaigns.

“The average speed cameras will allow Police Scotland to target instances of dangerous driving more effectively but all A9 users have a responsibility to drive to the conditions and relevant speed limits during the course of their journeys.

“Together with the 50 mph HGV speed limit trial, we are introducing a level playing field for businesses who should benefit from less disruption and more reliable journey times due to a reduction in disruption caused by accidents.”

Chief Superintendent Iain Murray, Police Scotland said:
“Police Scotland supports the introduction of average speed cameras on the A9.

“We are committed to Keeping People Safe on our roads and are supportive of any measure which is shown to impact positively towards the reduction of road collisions.

“However, road safety is not just about speeding, it’s about road user behaviour and how individual road users engage with each other on the road.

“Police Scotland will retain a high visibility presence on the A9, as with all our roads across Scotland, to make sure that drivers are driving responsibly and within the law.

“We will continue to challenge risk taking on the roads and our officers will educate, advise, provide guidance and enforce legislation when necessary.”

On the 50 mph HGV speed limit trial, Chief Superintendent Murray said:

“Police Scotland will work with Transport Scotland to monitor the behaviour of drivers during the initiative. We welcome the Scottish Government’s measured approach to the introduction of a revised speed limit for Large Goods Vehicles.”

Arron Duncan, Tayside Safety Camera Partnership Manager said:

“On behalf of all three Safety Camera Partnerships with responsibility for the operation of the Average Speed Camera System on the A9 I welcome the arrival of this valuable additional tool in support of our objectives to reduce the number of people killed or injured on Scottish Roads.

“My colleagues and I remain totally convinced from the information available to us that the system will support the delivery of substantial road safety benefits to all road users who are required or desire to travel on the A9 and overall make their journey a safer, less stressful and more enjoyable experience.”

“I would also stress that the system, which operates 24hours a day, as well as being a proven deterrent to drivers inclined to speed, is also a very efficient and effective enforcement tool and those drivers who choose to ignore speed limit and drive in excess of the applicable speed limit for their vehicle will be appropriately dealt with in accordance with the law. My advice is therefore clear – Don’t Risk It.”

Neil Greig, Director of Policy and Research at the IAM says
“This is one of the most innovative and important road safety schemes in Scotland for years.

“With full dualling still over ten years away it is vital that safety on the A9 is maintained and average speed cameras are a tried and tested way to achieve this. It’s a big change and some drivers will have to rethink their whole approach to travelling along the route.

“The higher HGV speed limit should help reduce frustration, but by setting realistic journey times, taking breaks and above all avoiding unsafe overtaking manoeuvres road users can still enjoy a safe and less stressful journey along one of the UKs most scenic roads.”

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Saturday, 29 November 2014

Trade groups: driver shortage ‘could mean empty shelves at Christmas’ . . .


Trade groups: driver shortage ‘could mean empty shelves at Christmas’

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Consumers could face the prospect of empty shelves come the festive season if urgent action is not taken, due to a ‘massive’ shortage of truck drivers, the Road Haulage Association (RHA) has said.

“We are pressing hard for the Treasury to make funding available so that would-be lorry drivers can take the vocational driving and related tests that they so desperately need in order to pass and legally drive a heavy goods vehicle,” said RHA’s new chief executive, Richard Burnett, pictured.

“The economy relies massively on an effective logistics industry. If that efficiency is to be maintained, it is vital that funding be made available now. It should be paid directly to those operating in the haulage and logistics industry and be nationally available.

“We also propose that it be time-limited. We know that some funding is available – but right now it is inaccessible.
“Such a scheme would ensure that UK growth and wealth creation is not impeded by a serious shortage of lorry drivers.

“We consider this to be the most effective and appropriate solution in the short term to an issue that will challenge the industry far beyond the coming weeks running up to Christmas.”

Burnett continued: “Ours is an industry with an ageing workforce. With 45 thousand HGV drivers due to retire in the next two years, and more set to leave for medical reasons or because they have jobs elsewhere, it’s clear that unless Government recognises and addresses this critical issue, the economic growth will slow down dramatically.”

He added that, despite the industry having “ridden the financial storm” – with 2013 seeing the first increase in trucks on British roads since 2007 – the shortfall currently stands at an estimated 40,000 drivers.

“Do the maths – there are simply not enough drivers to keep the economy moving. The RHA has very strong support for this position from members with transport companies of all sizes – small, medium and very large.”

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has previously voiced disquiet about the likely impact of the driver shortage on consumers over Christmas – with 82 per cent of transport managers attending an FTA conference in September saying the shortfall was a massive problem.

FTA skills policy development manager Sally Gilson, FTA’s Skills Policy Development Manager said: “Not all Christmas presents arrive by magic. The ones we order online and buy in shops for friends and relatives, along with all the food and drink we buy in for parties and Christmas lunch, are delivered every year by the logistics industry.

“This massive peak in demand leads to heavy use of agency drivers, and FTA members are really worried that these drivers may not be legally ready to drive when they are needed.

“FTA members are telling us they have genuine concerns over their ability to deliver Christmas this year. The pool of agency drivers is just not there, and with the economy improving a greater number is needed. However, this is not just a seasonal issue – our members recruiting full-time positions are struggling for applicants.”

The association blamed both Driver CPC and the cost of licence acquisition for the shortage.

“When you look at the cost it’s no wonder would-be drivers are not coming forward; add to this the insurance problems for younger drivers and industry is finding it hard to bring young blood in,” Gilson continued.

“FTA is asking why can’t vocational training have the same loan system as university students? If we are going to help the skills shortage, government must not belittle vocational training.”

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Friday, 28 November 2014

The Official Highway Code: windy weather . . .


The Official Highway Code: windy weather 

Windy weather 

The Highway Code applies to England, Scotland and Wales and is essential reading for everyone. 

Rule 233

In very windy weather your vehicle may be affected by turbulence created by large vehicles. Motorcyclists are particularly affected, so keep well back from them when they are overtaking a high-sided vehicle. 

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Thursday, 27 November 2014

Avoid at-work crashes with free Brake seminars . . .


Avoid at-work crashes with free Brake seminars

Brake, the road safety charity, has launched a series of free webinars, seminars, and resources, aimed at helping small to medium size enterprises (SMEs) avoid costly and potentially devastating at-work road crashes.

The events and guidance, delivered through Brake Professional with the support of the Department for Transport, will raise awareness of the main risks associated with driving for work, employers' responsibilities in managing these risks and how to manage them effectively while on a budget. Professionals will also be given a toolkit of resources and practical examples of tried and tested ways to achieve best practice.

Helping SMEs effectively recruit, train, and monitor drivers 9 December 2014: free one-hour webinar on low-cost ways companies can ensure they have effective policies and processes in place.

Helping SMEs to buy, lease, and maintain safe vehicles 29 January 2015: free one-hour webinar on ensuring the safety of your vehicles.

Helping SMEs to plan and manage safe journeys 12 February 2015: free one-hour webinar on the money saving and safety benefits of efficient journey planning and management.

Fleet safety for small businesses: a practical approach 19 March 2015, London (UK): free day-long seminar on how Brake's Pledge can help improve any company's fleet safety.

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Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Dealing with those who phone and drive . . .


Dealing with those who phone and drive

Using a mobile phone or other handheld device while driving is a serious road safety risk and a criminal offence. 

To help make drivers aware of the dangers and consequences of committing this offence, DVLA now issue a letter to all Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) or Public Service Vehicle (PSV) drivers who get penalty points put on their driver record for this specific offence. The letter informs the driver of the risks involved if they continue to use hand held devices while driving. 

The letter also advises that as well as the fixed penalty and points, the driver may also have to attend a conduct hearing before a traffic commissioner. The letter warns that if this offence is repeated, the driver will automatically be referred to the traffic commissioner, who may then review that driver’s suitability to continue to hold a vocational licence.

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Tuesday, 25 November 2014

DVLA is running a fleet scheme for fleet operators that’s free to join. . . .


DVLA is running a fleet scheme for fleet operators that’s free to join.

Benefits for fleet operators include: 
  • receipt of vehicle documents in bulk including V11 & V85/1 tax reminders and V5C registration certificates 
  • bulk taxation at a Post Office 
  • access to a dedicated fleet operator support helpdesk 
  • quicker resolution of queries as DVLA can identify the vehicles assigned to each fleet number 
  • access to the View Vehicle Record (VVR) enquiry service from spring 2015 on GOV.UK

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Monday, 24 November 2014

Department for Transport aims to “double cycling by 2025″ . . .


Department for Transport aims to “double cycling by 2025″

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The Department for Transport announces its intention to try and double the number of people cycling by 2025, ahead of a Parliamentary debate on the matter

The Department for Transport (DfT) has today released plans for consultation today to double cycling by 2025, though the catch is that there is no commitment to funding.

The long-awaited Cycling and Walking Delivery Plan coincides with a Parliamentary debate on cycling today.

The DfT recognises national and local leadership is needed to get people cycling more, something campaigners have long called for, and invites local authorities to work with government to explore ways funding can be generated for cycling. The aspiration is to achieve a minimum £10 per head per year funding for cycling by 2020-21, the DfT says, “and sooner if possible”.

The DfT released a statement saying: “The government’s vision is that cycling, alongside walking, becomes the natural choice for shorter journeys, regardless of age, gender, fitness or income.”

“We need a long term commitment to embed change. In order to measure progress towards achieving this vision, we have set out our ambition for cycling and walking up until 2025” it said.

“[We aim] To double cycling, where cycling activity is measured as the estimated total number of bicycle stages made each year, from 0.8 billion stages in 2013 to 1.6 billion stages; and to increase the percentage of children aged 5 to 10 that usually walk to school from 48% in 2013 to 55%.

“Cycling and walking not only cut pollution and congestion on our roads, but also have significant health and wellbeing benefits.

Sustrans’ Policy Director, Jason Torrance, said: “Today’s aspiration to explore an investment of £10 per head for cycling is a welcome step in the right direction, but the most vital ingredients for cycling’s success are missing from the plan.

“Without any indication of where this money will come from and with targets that are too distant and lacking in ambition, today’s announcement is more of a wish list than a plan.

“Getting the population moving is a critical issue. Without a significant increase in the number of people cycling and walking their local journeys Britain will come to an economic standstill; overcome with congestion and the cost of the physical inactivity crisis.”

Sustrans, along with British Cycling, CTC, Living Streets, the Bicycle Association and the London Cycling Campaign, is calling for at least £10 per head funding delivered from government, as well as the creation of more robust targets to achieve an increase in cycling, and data to only account for England outside of London, while accounting for population growth.

Transport minister Robert Goodwill said: “This government is serious about making the UK a cycling nation. We have doubled funding since 2010, with £374 million committed between 2011 and 2015.

“We want cycling and walking to become the natural choices for shorter journeys, kick starting a cycling revolution that will remove barriers for a new generation of cyclists.

“This strategy provides a road map for the way forward.”

Local authorities who form partnerships with government, would be expected to set clear and specific visions and delivery plans to increase cycling over defined timescales and geographical areas, and appoint local champions. In return partner authorities would receive tools and incentives including priority access to new funding streams and support from the DfT to implement plans.

The Cycling and Walking Delivery Plan also set out the next steps to cycle proofing the roads network with existing funding, as well as ensuring those designing roads are properly trained in creating cycle infrastructure and consider cyclists and pedestrians at the design stage of both new and improved road infrastructure.

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Sunday, 23 November 2014

Carry on caravanning: Highways Agency signs historic partnership with two caravan clubs . . .


Carry on caravanning: Highways Agency signs historic partnership with two caravan clubs

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The Highways Agency has made an historic commitment to the thousands of campers and caravanners who use its motorways and A roads.

Graham Dalton with a West Midlands Highways Agency Traffic Officer, also outside the NEC event

The Agency has signed a tri-party agreement with partners The Caravan Club and The Camping and Caravanning Club during one of the biggest events in the UK caravan industry calendar.

Graham Dalton, Chief Executive of the Highways Agency, put pen to paper with Nick Lomas, Director General of The Caravan Club, and Robert Louden MBE, Director General of The Camping and Caravanning Club, at the 2014 Motorhome & Caravan Show in Birmingham.

This is the first tri-party agreement of its kind that the Agency has entered into and reflects the closer relationship it is looking to develop with the many different users of its road network. In total, the two clubs represent around 1.5 million campers and caravanners.

Graham said:
England’s motorways and major A roads help millions of people get away on their holidays every year.

Campers, caravanners and motorhome users use our roads to get to their destinations – and we want all their journeys to be as safe and as trouble free as possible.

We want to help drivers with advice on planning their journeys and encourage them to prepare their vehicles or trailers. Meanwhile, the government is investing heavily to reduce congestion and make journeys a lot smoother.

Under the banner of Safer journeys, happier holidays, the 15 October agreement comes as the Agency moves towards becoming a government-owned company in 2015, with additional responsibility and accountability towards its customers - road users. It also means the three organisations can continue to build on their previous joint achievements which were carried out under separate agreements.

In practice the agreement will herald:
  • Closer liaison and collaboration in areas concerning road safety and road safety campaigns
  • Further development of best practice, such as towing best practice and communicating this to club members
  • Sharing more information and intelligence to improve journey time reliability for club members and develop a mutual understanding with the clubs
  • A positive platform for the Highways Agency to communicate with club members and listen to their views.

Nick Lomas said:
Most of The Club’s one million members are regular users of the strategic road network.

It’s important to us that holiday journeys are safe, reliable and trouble free, and our work in conjunction with the Highways Agency helps to ensure that is the case.

We are pleased to make this new commitment to continuing joint activities, and look forward to an ongoing successful partnership.

Robert Louden added:
The welfare and safety of camping units in all their many forms is hugely important to us here at The Camping and Caravanning Club.

But we believe leisure motoring should be enjoyable too - heading off on a touring holiday should feel like part of the adventure.

That’s why we are delighted to stand together with our partners to represent the interests of our club members on the open road, to make for happier, safer journeys and a better start and end to their touring breaks.

General enquiries

Members of the public should contact the Highways Agency Information Line on 0300 123 5000.

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Saturday, 22 November 2014

Millions failing MoT tests on tyre issues . . .


Millions failing MoT tests on tyre issues

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Drivers are being urged to check their tyres

Over 2.2 million cars failed their MOT test with tyre-related problems last year

A tyre safety organisation is urging drivers to check their tyres after it revealed that more than 2.2 million cars failed their MoT test in 2013 because of unsafe or illegal tyres.

The figures, which were obtained by TyreSafe under a Freedom of Information request, show that many drivers are not bothering to check the state of their tyres, relying instead on their MoT test to pick up the issue.

Stuart Jackson, the organisation’s chairman, has reacted incredulously to the news.

“It beggars belief that so many motorists can fail their MoT because of unsafe or illegal tyres,” he said.

“Your safety on the road is totally dependent upon the condition of your tyres so it’s vital that you check these regularly throughout the year, let alone just before you take your MoT.

“Furthermore, they are also one of the easiest items on your car to check, so there really is no excuse for this amount of tyre related failures.”

Hurricane Gonzalo is thought likely to arrive in Ireland on Tuesday, and although it will have been downgraded to a post-tropical storm by then, it’s still expected to bring strong winds and heavy rain.

“We are entering the most treacherous period of the year when the roads can become very wet and slippery so it’s essential that your tyres are in the best possible condition,” Jackson added.

“Driving on dangerous or illegal tyres can leave you vulnerable to a number of hazards such as longer stopping distances, loss of grip or an increased risk of aquaplaning but these can all be minimised with appropriate safety checks.”

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Friday, 21 November 2014

The Official Highway Code: country roads . . .


The Official Highway Code: country roads

Country roads

The Highway Code applies to England, Scotland and Wales and is essential reading for everyone. 

Rule 154

Take extra care on country roads and reduce your speed at approaches to bends, which can be sharper than they appear, and at junctions and turnings, which may be partially hidden. 

Be prepared for pedestrians, horse riders, cyclists, slow-moving farm vehicles or mud on the road surface. 

Make sure you can stop within the distance you can see to be clear. 

You should also reduce your speed where country roads enter villages.

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Thursday, 20 November 2014

More women at the wheel ‘will address driver shortage’ . . .


More women at the wheel ‘will address driver shortage’

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All-women-run haulage and logistics training provider NTP Services has launched a campaign to encourage more women to enter the industry, in a bid to help address the goods vehicle driver shortage.

According to Channel 4’s 2012 documentaryMotherTruckers, only two per cent of the UK’s lorry drivers are female – but NTP says it has detected a distinct increase in the number of women coming into the haulage industry.

The training firm has recently teamed up with MotherTruckers, the nationwide women truckers’ club, and Lincolnshire training school Priestley LGV, in a bid to incentivise potential applicants.

Daryl Moore, business development manager at the firm, said: “From women truckers, through transport management to haulage company owners, there are more and more women becoming a force to be reckoned with.

“There are no jobs that aren’t suitable for women nowadays, and we along with MotherTruckers and Priestley LGV want to offer women the opportunity to get into a fun and rewarding industry.”

Director Kimbly Mackman added: “Women are becoming a large part of the industry, so we at NTP Services have decided to boost this trend and are actively seeking more women to become part of this vital industry.”

NTP Services, which Moore and Mackman run alongside training manager Kelly Moore, offers a range of services including shunter and banksman training, Driver CPC, first aid and operator licence training.

Wendy and Les Priestley, from Priestley LGV, are known for encouraging women into the industry, including Selina Derry (pictured) who passed her LGV Class 1 on 11 October.

Following the success of the Channel 4 documentary, Wendy Priestley founded the MotherTruckers – Lady Truckers Club, which has since been offering guidance and support for women entering the industry.

Wendy Priestley said: “This is a very exciting time for us, joining forces with NTP and helping women get into the industry. We are all ready to make 2015 the year of women in haulage.”

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Wednesday, 19 November 2014

New pictures reveal how free flow tolling will transform Dartford crossing . . .


New pictures reveal how free flow tolling will transform Dartford crossing

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How the crossing looks currently, with 27-lane plaza

How the road layout will look once work on introducing free-flow tolling has been completely finished next Spring

THE Highways Agency has released images showing how the introduction of free-flow tolling at the Dartford Crossing will completely transform the road layout.

Work to remove the payment booths will coincide with Dart Charge - which will charge motorists for using the crossing via an automatic number place recognition system - going live in late November, and is expected to be complete next spring.

The images show how the 27-lane payment plaza will be replaced by four open lanes in each direction and the approach to the tunnels will be enhanced with technology and dedicated extra lanes to help identify and turn away prohibited vehicle types before they enter the tunnels.

It is hoped the scheme will improve journeys at the Dartford Crossing by removing the need for drivers to stop at a barrier to pay the crossing charge.

Instead, drivers will be able to pay online, by phone, by post or at one of thousands of Payzone outlets nationwide, either in advance of their journey or by midnight on the day following it.

It is part of government plans to improve traffic flow at the vital gateway between Kent and Essex.

Nigel Gray, the Dart Charge project director, said: "It's only when the booths have been removed that the full benefits of Dart Charge will be felt, and we will get underway on this work at the same time that the new payment arrangements begin.

"It's complicated work - especially on the northbound carriageway, where we need to protect the tunnels - one of which was built in the 1960s and has a lower height restriction - from over-height vehicles.

"We’ll be completely redesigning the approach to the tunnels to detect and turn around these vehicles and other vehicles not suitable for the tunnels, using a system of signals, barriers and extra lanes, while keeping all other traffic flowing as much as possible."

How the entrance to the Dartford Tunnel will look when redesign work is complete


More than 33,000 people have signed up for Dart Charge updates, and the Dart Charge team have been answering hundreds of questions about the project from interested drivers. Here are answers to some of the most common questions they have been asked in September:

Q: How will I be able to pay the Crossing charge?

A: Dart Charge will give you much more flexibility about how and when you pay the Dartford Crossing charge. You will be able to pay online, by phone or by post, or at one of thousands of Payzone terminals at shops nationwide. You can pay up to a year in advance, or by midnight on the day after your journey.

Q: Will I still be able to pay in cash at the Crossing?

A: No. Dart Charge will reduce congestion by removing the need to stop at a barrier to pay the charge at the Crossing.

Q: Do current discounts and exemptions still apply?

A: Yes, exemptions and discounts will still apply.

Where vehicles are currently legally exempt from paying the Crossing charge, these exemptions will continue. This includes vehicles exempt from paying Vehicle Excise Duty (VED). Blue badge holders are not exempt; the vehicle itself must be registered as exempt from Vehicle Excise Duty (VED).
Residents of the boroughs of Dartford and Thurrock will continue to be entitled to discounts on the road user charge, through the Local Residents’ Discount Scheme 
Everyone will be able to benefit from a discount in the Crossing charge by setting up a Dart Charge pre-pay account and keep it in credit -you can save up to one-third on each crossing.
Mopeds, motorcycles, motor tricycles and quadricycles (quad bikes) will still be permitted to use the Crossing for free

Q: What happens if I don’t pay?

A: If you don’t pay for your crossing by midnight the day after your journey, you will be issued with a penalty charge notice. This is £70, but reduced to £35 if you pay within 14 days. If the penalty charge is not paid within 28 days it will increase to £105. We will have enforcement arrangements in place across all of Europe, so will be able to enforce the charge effectively both in the UK and abroad.

Q: I’m worried that I won’t be ready for the change – what do I need to do?

A: If you sign up for updates at we’ll keep you informed at every step of the way. We’re committed to making Dart Charge as simple as possible, and giving people plenty of time and information to help them prepare for the changes.

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Tuesday, 18 November 2014

London Fire Brigade was called to deal with this rather unfortunate incident in Beckenham . . .


London Fire Brigade was called to deal with this rather unfortunate incident in Beckenham

Cited at:

Despite the bold statement of “We Fit” painted across its lorry, a Halfords driver somehow managed to get the vehicle stuck under a bridge on South Eden Park Road, the BBC reports.

As a result train services crossing the bridge were temporarily halted.

A spokesperson for Halfords told the BBC:
We would like to apologise for any delays and inconvenience caused to road and train travellers and will be working with the authorities to carry out a full investigation.

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Monday, 17 November 2014

All on board with Driver CPC . . .


All on board with Driver CPC

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All professional bus, coach and lorry drivers must have completed their first block of Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (Driver CPC) periodic training by today (10 September) to continue working.

Over 664,000 drivers have completed the 35 hours of training they need to continue driving professionally.

DVSA’s Chief Executive, Alastair Peoples, thanked the bus, coach and haulage industry for their support with this scheme: “By keeping their skills up to date professional drivers are helping to make Britain’s roads amongst the safest in the world.”

Joan Aitken, lead Traffic Commissioner on Driver CPC, also praised the industry for their hard work on reaching this milestone: “Trainers, drivers and employers have worked hard to ensure drivers are qualified in time. For those operators and drivers who have not caught up with this deadline, the message has to be: Get this sorted now.”

We are working to enforce these rules fairly. Drivers without a DQC or who fail to produce it will be fined a maximum of £1,000 – as will the operator licence holder – and referred to the Traffic Commissioner to consider further action. This could include suspending the driver’s and the operator’s licences.

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Sunday, 16 November 2014

Changes to tachograph rules for local journeys . . .


Changes to tachograph rules for local journeys

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Soon some vehicles will no longer have to be fitted with tachograph recording equipment and their drivers will not have to comply with EC drivers’ hour rules, but with GB drivers’ hours rules instead.

From 2 March 2015, a new European regulation – EU 165/2014 (PDF 2 MB) – will replace EEC 3821/85, setting out requirements for the construction, installation, use, testing and control of tachograph recording equipment.

The new regulation increases the journey distance for exemptions from 50km to 100km from the operator’s base. This will apply to:
vehicles or vehicle and trailer combinations with a maximum weight of 7,500 kg which are:

- used to carry materials, equipment or machinery for the driver’s use in the course of his work and when driving the vehicle is not the driver’s main activity

- used to carry goods and which are propelled by natural or liquefied gas or electricity
vehicles used to carry live animals from farms to local markets, or from markets to local farms or slaughterhouses

From 2 March 2015, these vehicles will no longer have to be fitted with tachograph recording equipment and the drivers will not have to comply with EC drivers’ hour rules. Instead, drivers of these vehicles must meet GB domestic drivers’ hours rules.

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Saturday, 15 November 2014

Check type-approval before you buy! . . .


Check type-approval before you buy!

Cited at:

We advise our customers to make sure any new vehicle has a type approval certificate before you buy.

There are only 6 weeks left before multi-stage build trucks and special type vehicles and trailers must be type-approved before they can be registered to use on the road.

From 29 October, these vehicles cannot be registered without a type approval certificate.

We have been advising manufacturers, bodybuilders and suppliers to adopt the new approval route early for a seamless transition and continue to work with builders, manufacturers and trade bodies to identify customer demand.

Visit for more information on this scheme.

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Traffic Officers provide safe winter driving advice . . .


Traffic Officers provide safe winter driving advice

Cited at:

From: Highways Agency
First published: 13 November 2014
Part of: Managing, improving and investing in the road network, Transport and UK economy

Highways Agency traffic officers will provide winter driving advice at motorway service stations across England as part of Operation Showtime this weekend.

Traffic officers will have factsheets and posters to hand out, including advice about driving in adverse weather, planning journeys over Christmas, and checking vehicles before driving long distances in winter.

Brian Hensby, Highways Agency operations manager in charge of ‘Operation Showtime’, said:
Operation Showtime gives the public a chance to learn more about our traffic officers, and speak to them in detail about safe driving on the motorway.

Our winter campaign always focuses on the safety of road users – and we encourage anyone driving over the winter period to ensure they, and their vehicle, are fully prepared.

The first winter Operation Showtime events will take place on November 15 and 16. Traffic officers will park up at strategic motorway service areas and will be free to chat to the public who stop by. This will also allow them to still attend incidents if necessary.

The traffic officers’ main aim in Operation Showtime is to encourage road users to spend a few minutes preparing for their journey in advance of bad weather this winter.

We’d suggest drivers put together a winter emergency kit for their car – with crucial items like warm clothing, a torch, de-icer, ice scrapers, shovel and boots,

Brian said.

We also recommend checking your vehicle – is the tread depth on your tyres safe? Do your brakes work properly? Is your heating okay?

If you are considering a winter service for your vehicle, be sure to get it done at least a week before any long journeys – sadly, there are countless examples of vehicles establishing problems during the very first journey after a check-up.

The Highways Agency works closely with the Met Office to ensure it is ready for winter, whatever the weather. Full severe weather plans are in place around the country for snow, hail and ice, as well as heavy rain, flooding and high winds.

The Agency encourages all road users to check the latest traffic information and weather forecasts before setting out, and be prepared to alter their plans if weather conditions are particularly bad.

Brian Hensby added:
It may be a case of leaving earlier, or leaving a little later, or simply planning the best places for rest stops along the way.

You can’t have too much information before you set off: and the more you know, the more likely you are to enjoy a smoother journey this winter.

General enquiries
Members of the public should contact the Highways Agency Information Line on 0300 123 5000.

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Friday, 14 November 2014

Load security for XL-rated vehicles . . .


Load security for XL-rated vehicles

Cited at:

We are accepting new standards on load security provided by XL-rated vehicles. Previously we accepted that vehicles built to the EN 12642 XL standards would provide 40% of security to the side. After consultation with industry stakeholders we now accept these vehicles as providing 50% of load security to the side – as long as the load is a positive fit.

The Department for Transport (DfT) Code of Practice, Safety of Loads on Vehicles, states:

"…the combined strength of the load restraint system must be sufficient to withstand a force not less than the total weight of the load forward… and half of the weight of the load backwards and sideways."

This applies to all vehicles, irrespective of size.

Most curtain-sided vehicles must use additional suitable load restraint to prevent loads from moving during transit. The curtains fitted to these vehicles are designed for weather protection only.

XL-rated vehicles

However, vehicles and trailers built to the European Standard EN 12642 XL are the exception to this rule. New European guidance (still in draft) states that vehicles built to the XL standard will meet the 50% of load securing to the side, as per the DfT Code of Practice.

Positive fit

We now accept XL-rated vehicles as providing 50% of the total maximum vehicle load to the side. So you would not need to use additional lashing or other load security solutions, as long as you have loaded the goods with a positive fit:
  • load from the headboard, filling the length of the load bed up to the bulkhead, which must be in good condition
  • the gap between each side of the load and the curtains must be 80 millimetres or less
  • the load must be secured to the rear if it is not retained by the trailer body or rear doors

But if you have not loaded your XL-rated vehicle to these positive fit standards, you must treat it in the same way as a normal curtain-sided vehicle and use other appropriate methods to secure the load, such as lashings.

Beware multi-drop

XL-rated vehicles involved in multi drop operations may well start the journey meeting positive fit requirements. But as the load diminishes, the driver must either fill any gaps to maintain the positive fit, or use additional securing measures.

Download DfT’s Code of Practice: Safety of Loads on Vehicles from the GOV.UK archive at (PDF 2.28MB)

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