Sunday, 22 February 2015

London’s HGV Taskforce reports enforcement success . . .


London’s HGV Taskforce reports enforcement success

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Transport for London (TfL) has announced that the capital’s Industrial HGV Task Force (IHTF) has issued more than 1,000 fixed penalty notices to unsafe and non-compliant HGVs since its operations commenced in October 2013.

The Task Force, which was established by the Mayor of London and is jointly funded by TfL and the Department for Transport (DfT), has reportedly stopped more than 4,000 vehicles since its formation, with 2,000 roadworthiness prohibitions issues and 47 vehicles taken off the road altogether.

IHTF comprises Metropolitan and City of London police officers, and enforcement officers from the Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA).

Items checked during IHTF inspections include driver and operator licences, drivers’ hours, vehicle tyres, steering, brakes and loads. Prosecutions and fixed penalty notices have also resulted from vehicles not being equipped with sideguards, and lack of insurance.

The Task Force also works works alongside the Metropolitan Police’s commercial vehicle unit, whose role is to attend and investigate collisions between HGVs and cyclists, taking action against drivers and operators where appropriate.

London’s transport cCommissioner, Sir Peter Hendy CBE, said: “These results show that our Industrial HGV Task Force is going from strength to strength to identify and take action against dangerous and non-compliant operators and drivers of HGVs, particularly construction vehicles, on London’s roads.

“These enforcement results send out a clear message to everyone concerned that we will not tolerate or put other road users, cyclists or pedestrians at risk through the actions of the minority of negligent operators and drivers in the capital.

“We will continue to work with the freight and construction industries to ensure safer vehicle operation across the capital and will push for the toughest penalties for anyone caught acting illegally.”

Malcolm Tipping, head of policy at DVSA, said: “The number of penalties already issued by the Task Force demonstrates the effectiveness of the joint working between DVSA, TfL and the Police. Drivers and operators should be in no doubt that if they choose to work outside the law and put innocent road users at risk, they will face serious consequences.”

Nick Denton, the traffic commissioner for London and the south east, added: “The Industrial HGV Task Force has brought a greater number of non-compliant operators from the capital to my attention, with reports of defective vehicles and a failure to meet basic driver safety rules all too common.

“The Task Force’s work has helped me focus my attention on the worst operators who pose the greatest risks to road safety and compete unfairly against those operators who comply with the law.

“I have imposed some very sharp sanctions against non-compliant operators identified by the Task Force. Those sanctions include suspending their licences for substantial periods, reducing the number of vehicles they are allowed to operate and, in quite a few instances, revoking the licences altogether and disqualifying their holders from returning to the industry.

“I will continue to do this until the standards of operation improve, the roads are safer and there is a level playing field for those operators who do get it right.”

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) reiterated its support for the Task Force, saying it was “working well.”

Christopher Snelling, head of urban logistics policy at FTA, added: “Its success is based on it being a targeted programme – identifying the potential non-compliant vehicles though intelligence or observation, and focusing on them for enforcement action.

“This has allowed the IHTF to concentrate their efforts on the more serious infractions by a tiny minority of operators whilst letting the vast majority of HGV operators get about their business of providing London with the goods it needs to keep working.”

He added: “It should be remembered that every day over 360,000 tonnes of goods are moved by thousands and thousands of lorries in London. The examples of non-compliance found by the IHTF are not representative of the industry as whole as they are based on a highly targeted operation…

“FTA members spend thousands of pounds making sure each vehicle and driver is safe on the road and do not want to be undercut commercially by any of the small number of operators who work to a lower standard.”

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