Friday, 15 April 2016

Ban on roadworks lasting for miles and miles to end the tailbacks which blight busy motorways and A-roads . . .

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Ban on roadworks lasting for miles and miles to end the tailbacks which blight busy motorways and A-roads

  • Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin orders an end to miles of closures
  • Government says drivers must be treated with 'respect' during works
  • Highways England will have to give better information about its plans 

Cited at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3244658/Ban-roadworks-lasting-miles-miles-end-tailbacks-blight-busy-motorways-roads.html


Roadworks which last for miles on end are to be banned by ministers to end the misery of tailbacks on some of the country's busiest roads.

Ministers have ordered the Highways England to draw up new rules on digging up key routes and carrying out resurfacing work.

While pressing ahead with major upgrades across the country, the government has insisted that highways drivers must be treated with 'respect'.

The M1 (pictured) has been singled out as the most annoying for drivers with some improvement schemes lasting for years

The number of repairs has risen by more than 20 per cent in the last year,according to official figures.

It means a third of UK car journeys are now hit by delays as a result of the soaring number of roadworks.

The M1 has been singled out as the most annoying for drivers, with one improvement scheme at Junction 10a having started in October 2013.

Now the government has ordered an end to miles and miles of lane closures and speed restrictions.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has called on Highways England, which is responsible for motorways and major A-roads, to take action to limit the impact of roadworks.

The Department for Transport played down reports that Mr McLoughlin has set a limit of two miles for each stretch of roadworks.

But he has called for better information for drivers about planned works - including how long they will last and likely delays - so they can plan alternative routes 

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has called on Highways England, which is responsible for motorways and major A-roads, to take action to limit the impact of roadworks

A DfT spokesperson said: 'Our Road Investment Strategy will deliver the biggest upgrade to Britain's roads in a generation and secure our transport network for the long-term. 

'But as it is delivered we've got to respect the drivers who use our roads every day. That means taking common sense decisions to minimise frustrations wherever possible.' 

A massive programme of road improvements have added to congestion on some of the country's busiest routes.

A scheme to create 'smart motorways' which allow for the hard shoulder to be used at busy times has led to long queues in some areas. 

Traffic information company Inrix reports that there is an 18-mile stretch of roadworks on the M1 near Chesterfield and 15 miles on the M3 near Farnborough.




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Thursday, 14 April 2016

Cycle advanced stop lines in the safety spotlight . . .

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Cycle advanced stop lines in the safety spotlight

Cited at: http://transportoperator.co.uk/2015/09/27/cycle-advanced-stop-lines-in-the-safety-spotlight/

In a bid to raise awareness among cyclists about sharing urban road space with heavy vehicles, one London borough is telling them to keep out of the very areas around trucks that road markings around the capital may encourage them to use.

A picture on a webpage published by the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham (LBHF) entitled ‘Never Cycle on the Inside of a Lorry’ (click here toview) shows police officers taking part in an ‘Exchanging Places’ cyclist training day mapping out the blind-spot areas around a typical heavy truck. These correspond almost exactly to the nearside on-road cycle lanes and advanced stop line which have been installed on many traffic-light controlled junctions in the capital.

Typically, these advanced stop line (ASL) junctions have a designated cyclepath marked on the road near the kerbside, which then leads to a ‘cycle-only’ box taking up the entire width of the road at the mouth of the junction.

Critics have argued that this could potentially encourage cyclists to pass through the dangerous blindspot between any waiting truck and the kerb, and then pull out into another blindspot immediately in front of the truck’s cab: the argument being that cyclists at the ASL who cannot get off the mark quickly enough risk being struck from behind, while those beside the truck may well find themselves trapped if it turns left.

A report by researchers at Loughborough University and University College London entitled Pedal Cyclist Fatalities in London (R Talbot et al, originally issued in 2013 and republished last year) included among its messages to cyclists: “Do not undertake large vehicles on the approach to a junction irrespective of ASL provision” – and to drivers: “Do not drive right up to or into an ASL, as this reduces visibility of the cyclist.”

The report was based on analysis of police collision files between 2007 and 2011, and undertaken on behalf of Transport for London (TfL).

It examined four particular instances of HGV/cyclist crashes where both vehicles had moved off from stationary at a green light, the cyclist having been in an ASL, where: “it was thought that the cyclists were intending to travel straight ahead and one or more were in collision with the truck as it commenced its left turn.”

The fact that the ASL had positioned cyclists in an area with limited direct vision from the truck was thought to have played a contributory role in all four cases. In two cases no Class VI mirrors were fitted on the truck, and in one case the truck entered the ASL inappropriately.

The report also claimed that in one case the driver was using a handheld phone at the time, and that in another, the driver was using a hands-free phone.

While the report said ASLs had been present in 12 crashes involving trucks, it said they “did not necessarily contribute to the crash.”

However, it noted: “When a HGV is directly behind an ASL the driver has limited direct sight of cyclists within the ASL… Even when [Class VI mirrors are fitted] cyclists are not always noticed by the driver.

“The presence of, and entry markings to ASLs also encourage cyclists to undertake vehicles in order to enter them, which increases the likelihood of conflict with left turning vehicles. The point at which signal lights change is a particularly vulnerable time for the cyclist.”

Solutions proposed by the report included advanced phasing for cyclists alongside ASLs, where cyclists would have their own green signal; and also a ‘no vehicle’ zone in between the motor vehicle stop line and the start of the ASL, which would increase the likelihood of cyclists being seen and the time available for them to move off.

The report added: “Where left turning and straight on traffic is separated, [ASL] entry points should be between the two lanes. The same applies if there is a separate right hand lane. For some junctions it may be more appropriate to encourage cyclists to enter the ASL at any point.

“In addition, ASLs may be inappropriate at some locations – especially those where the junction design creates a pinch point between the cyclist and other vehicles. In this case alternative solutions such as segregated infrastructure should be considered to avoid the conflict caused by undertaking.”

TfL has so far failed to make a substantive response to Transport Operator’s request for clarification on ASL junctions, specifically the extent to which accident data from such junctions has been gathered and risk assessments carried out – but has said that it is: “only responsible for five per cent of London’s roads.”







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Wednesday, 13 April 2016

New VT safety system applies handbrake if driver forgets . . .

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New VT safety system applies handbrake if driver forgets

Cited at: http://transportoperator.co.uk/2015/10/05/new-vt-safety-system-applies-handbrake-if-driver-forgets/

Vehicle safety specialist Vision Techniques has developed a new safety system that automatically applies the vehicle handbrake if a driver forgets, which it says will remove the risk of vehicle runaway.

According to the firm, technical manager Nigel Armstrong recognised the need for a failsafe system following the rise in rollaway accidents affecting waste, construction and freight vehicles. Earlier this year he began developing a system designed to prevent runaway accidents for Vision Techniques’ customers.

“What we’ve done is create something unique to the waste industry but also an essential system that will take away the risk of rolling accidents,” he said.

The idea behind VT BrakeSafe is simple, says the firm: if a driver attempts to leave the vehicle when the handbrake is not applied, the failsafe automatically applies the brake and warns the driver audibly.

The company claims that, although products were available which would warn a driver of a forgotten handbrake, there were no systems which applied the brake automatically until now.

“We’re very proud to be the only provider of a system that will stop a vehicle automatically without driver interaction, essentially taking away the risk of unexpected movement,” said Nigel Armstrong.

The system has already been installed onto waste vehicles at Craven District Council in Skipton, North Yorkshire. The council’s fleet manager Steve Parkinson said: “It’s a simple solution to a potentially devastating problem. Having a failsafe like this on a vehicle is a health and safety neccessity. We’re really happy VT came to us first with this system.”

As the handbrake system has been developed in-house by Vision Techniques’ own technical team, VT BrakeSafe will integrate with other safety products such as recording or telematic systems to provide data and statistics to fleet managers.

The company reports that VT BrakeSafe has been successful throughout testing with Craven Council, and that demand for the system has been high after demonstrating the safety product to visitors at this year’s RWM event.

Nigel added: “We are in the process of installing trials with some of our biggest customers and we’re proud to bring new innovation to our customers, once again leading the way in vehicle safety.”

Vision Techniques’ other vehicle safety systems include VT TurnAware, a cyclist detection system which was recently shortlisted for a CIWM award in vehicle and plant innovation.









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Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Yorkshire junction with 42 traffic lights worked better when they broke . . .

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Yorkshire junction with 42 traffic lights worked better when they broke

The lights have been blamed for causing unnecessary tailbacks in the area, which has been nicknamed the 'red light district'

Cited at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/11918353/Yorkshire-junction-with-42-traffic-lights-worked-better-when-they-broke.html


A junction with 42 traffic lights ran more smoothly when a malfunction made all the lights go out, according to local motorists and residents.

All the lights at Grovehill junction in Beverley, East Yorkshire - which are supposed to manage 20 different traffic movements and nine crossing points - went out following a power failure. The junction replaced a roundabout when the town’s bypass opened in February.

The lights have been blamed for causing unnecessary tailbacks in the area, which has been nicknamed the “red light district”.

Peter Robinson, 78, who has lived nearby since 1969, said the road has been blighted with traffic problems since the lights were installed.

“The traffic has been moving much better than when the lights are on and there doesn’t seem to be any problems,” he said.

“Everyone seems quite confident going through the junction without the lights. There’s no tailbacks.”

Anita Tomlinson, a resident of the same road, said: “The traffic has been flowing very well since the lights went out, it’s flowing like it used to do when it was just a roundabout. I had wondered myself what would happen if all 42 lights went out but drivers are being very careful.”

Terry Fawcett, another resident, added: “We had a perfectly good roundabout before, that functioned as a roundabout should.”


The traffic lights went out on Tuesday morning and remained off yesterday. A spokesman for East Riding of Yorkshire council said: “The fault with the control box for the traffic lights at this junction has been of a significant nature, and is taking some time to repair.

“So far most drivers have taken extra care and remained patient whilst using the junction. However, as the pedestrian crossing facilities are not working, drivers are requested to proceed with caution.”



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Traffic lights through the ages
  • 1869, London - Manual traffic control device introduced. It is abandoned after the reported injury and possibly death of a policeman, who was injured in a gas explosion.

  • 1920, Detroit - Three-coloured traffic signal built in the city of Detroit, among the first of its kind

  • 1914, Ohio - First electric traffic light is installed on August 5

  • 1952, New York City - First "Walk/Don't Walk" traffic lights set up in New York City

  • London, 1998 - Traffic light tree art project installed in the British capital








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Monday, 11 April 2016

Truck manufacturers lobby for ban on SCR cheat devices . . .

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Truck manufacturers lobby for ban on SCR cheat devices

Cited at: http://transportoperator.co.uk/2015/11/10/truck-manufacturers-lobby-for-ban-on-scr-cheat-devices/

Four years after Transport Operator first raised the issue, truck manufacturers are now lobbying the Department for Transport to get selective catalytic reduction (SCR) bypass devices, which dupe vehicles’ on-board computers into thinking AdBlue has been added to the system, banned from use on trucks on UK roads.

With the VW scandal having thrown ‘real-world’ conformance with emissions regulations into the spotlight, research by Transport Operator has revealed that at least three companies are still offering these devices in the UK. Their sale and/or use is banned in some other countries, including Australia.

Most trucks built from Euro 4 onwards use an SCR system to control NOx emissions. These systems are dependent upon AdBlue being injected into the exhaust upstream of the SCR catalyst where it is converted into ammonia, which then combines with NOx gases to form harmless water, nitrogen and CO2.

The emulator cuts off the supply of AdBlue but fools the truck’s ECU into thinking that the fluid is being dispensed as normal and the truck’s emissions are within legal parameters.

Hard data about the use of such devices is difficult to come by, and operators will tend to remove or disable them before a vehicle is sent in for servicing by a franchised dealer workshop. But one technician who specialises in roadside breakdowns told us that their use on older Euro 4 trucks which had been purchased second-hand was “very widespread.”

“Part of the routine check that we run through when a truck has engine problems at the roadside is that the engine hasn’t de-rated because it has run out of AdBlue or developed a problem with the SCR system.

“It’s quite normal for the driver to tell us when we do this that the system has been disabled anyway and that the truck doesn’t use AdBlue.”

Disabling the SCR system results in a small cost saving to the operator as the truck will no longer consume AdBlue. On an older Euro 4 truck, AdBlue use will be typically four per cent or less of the fuel burn, and the litre price of the AdBlue is half or less that of pump diesel. However, it removes any element of control over NOx emissions, which are likely to become worse than those of a Euro 3 truck.

Our research revealed that there were companies offering so-called AdBlue emulators for sale over the Internet in the UK, for fitment to all makes of trucks using SCR to control NOx emissions. Most of the sites did state that the fitment of such systems would raise emissions to beyond the legal limits set for the trucks when they were new, but it’s important to note that it is not a specific offence to install such devices in the UK.

Currently, the emissions testing of in-service vehicles in the UK is slack. The annual test for diesel engine heavy vehicles is only concerned with particulate matter (smoke) emissions, and most vehicles go through with only a visual test being made.

In cases where the tester is concerned by visible smoke emissions, an opacity meter is used to check the engine conforms to legal limits, but most modern engines produce little or no visible smoke unless the engine is badly worn or there is a mechanical fault.

The water is further muddied by used trucks being prepared for export to countries where there is no AdBlue distribution network or requirement for Euro 4 or better emissions.

In some cases, manufacturers themselves are removing the systems altogether and recalibrating and certifying the engines to Euro 3 standard, but this is apparently only being done on vehicles already assigned for export outside the EU (typically to markets in Africa) and franchised dealers are forbidden from selling such vehicles back into the UK.

Transport Operator asked what, if anything, was been done to regulate the use of such devices, at a recent transport managers’ conference held by the Freight Transport Association in Chepstow. The FTA’s head of engineering, Andy Mair, said that he understood individual truck manufacturers were lobbying the Department for Transport to: “close the legal loophole that currently allowed such devices and make their use an offence under the Construction and Use regulations.”

The continuing use of these devices is likely to be contributing to degradation of air quality; and this in turn is likely to lead more local authorities to introduce measures such as low emission zones in response, placing further burdens on law-abiding operators.

Speaking at the FTA conference, the association’s climate change policy manager Rachael Dillon warned that local authorities were likely to be “increasingly aggressive” on air quality issues; and that access to HS2 sites in London and possibly elsewhere was probably going to be forbidden to all but Euro 6 trucks.

Meanwhile, the Department for Transport is understood to be investigating the use of AdBlue emulators, and also of truck engine ‘chipping’: where the vehicle’s ECU is tampered with to raise power output or improve fuel consumption. In many cases this modification will also raise emissions of NOx.

A spokesman for the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders told Transport Operator: “While we don’t have an official position on this, we do know that individual manufacturers have been in discussion with the DfT and we await the outcome.“






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Sunday, 10 April 2016

DVSA publishes new drivers' hours guidance . . .

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DVSA publishes new drivers' hours guidance 


The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has published new guidance on drivers' hours and tachographs. 

The guidance is for drivers and operators of goods vehicles and passenger-carrying vehicles in Great Britain and Europe, whether used privately or commercially.

If you drive a goods vehicle or a passenger-carrying vehicle you must follow the rules on how many hours you can drive and the breaks that you need to take.

Aims of the new guidance

The new guides explain the rules for drivers' hours and the keeping of records, and update previous guidance from 2011.

Read the following guides for more information: 






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Saturday, 9 April 2016

Commissioner slams useless, ‘old school’ transport managers . . .

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Commissioner slams useless, ‘old school’ transport managers

Cited at: http://transportoperator.co.uk/2015/11/08/commissioner-slams-useless-old-school-transport-managers/


The traffic commissioner for London and the South East has criticised a lack of knowledge and professionalism among transport managers called by him to public inquiry (PI) after their companies have fallen foul of the law, and contrasted their failure to keep up-to-date with the legal requirement for drivers to undergo continuous training.

Writing in the traffic commissioners’ annual report for 2014-15, Nick Denton said that transport managers attending PIs: “typically have not bothered to attend training since they qualified 20 or 30 years ago.”

This lack of knowledge of current legislation and best practice resulted in failures of legal compliance and lead to the summons to PI. Mr Denton contrasted this attitude with that of those transport managers that he met at training events run by industry bodies, who were: “bright, dynamic, and keen to develop themselves professionally by undergoing regular training.”

Mr Denton pointed out that: “it was an anomaly that, while drivers are now legally required to undergo 35 hours of training every five years, there is no similar requirement for transport managers.”

Good transport managers would, Mr Denton said, “take their continuous professional development seriously. But too many cannot be bothered, taking pride in being ‘old school’ (too often just a synonym for useless).”

He concluded with a word of warning for the employers of such individuals.

“If you are an operator with one of these transport managers, please get them trained urgently, get someone else, or just surrender your licence to me now.”

Mr Denton also raised concerns about holders of restricted operator licences, too many of which he said signed up to abide by the laws on drivers’ hours and vehicle operation: “without actually knowing what the laws are or troubling to find out.

“I have boiled the requirements of a restricted licence into a simple list of commandments on one sheet of paper which I intend to give to all applicants in future, with instructions to nail it over their bed and check before going to sleep every night that they are doing what they need to do,” he said.

Totally agree with all the points made in this article and it is about time Transport managers were licensed the same as drivers are with the DCPC. There are too many so called Transport Managers out there who do not even have a CPC and many who passed it years ago who only concentrate on their day to day business and ignore anything outside that bubble. I have found the amount of drivers who have moved to our company with bad practice attitude to tachograph laws and little or no knowledge of how the working time directive actually works and when questioned they reply its what my Transport manager told me. Also the owners of Transport companies and companies that employ a Transport Manager must be forced to get their employees to be trained, too many never bother leaving ill qualified people in the position.








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Friday, 8 April 2016

Moving On: Improving online services for vehicle operators, Accessibility standards, headlamp aim test - 9 months on . . . .

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Moving On: Improving online services for vehicle operators, Accessibility standards, headlamp aim test - 9 months on 

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Accessibility standards for public service vehicles

The Public Service Vehicle Accessibility Regulations (PSVAR) continues to roll out and since January 2016 all single-deck buses have needed to be compliant with schedules 1 and 2 of the regulations. The full implementation of the regulations will be complete in 2020.


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9 months on - changes to headlamp aim test for trucks and buses

In April 2015, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) introduced a new headlamp aim test for heavy vehicles. We changed the test following significant research which resulted in a report on the effect of road safety. The report was produced by the Transport Safety Research Centre (TSRC) at Loughborough University.



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Changes to ADR and IVA vehicle test times

We're changing the Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR) and Individual Vehicle Approval (IVA) vehicle test times from 1 March 2016.


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Vehicle maintenance checks during winter

This winter we've experienced the warmest November and December on record and so far, we've managed to avoid any widespread heavy snow. We've experienced a number of storms which have brought heavy rain and strong winds – and it's still possible that we might experience some snowfall before spring arrives.


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The consequences of licence lending

Fair competition is an important principle for any business. Compliant organisations who compete with each other on a level playing field don't try to cut corners or break rules.



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New financial standing levels for operators


On 1 January 2016, revised financial standing levels for standard national and international operator licence applications and continuations came into force.



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Updated guidance from the traffic commissioners


Following consultation with stakeholders and industry, the Senior Traffic Commissioner's statutory documents have been updated. The revised documents, which are available online, explain the legal basis and the way traffic commissioners approach the exercise of their statutory functions.


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We appreciate your feedback. Please contact us at movingon@dvsa.gsi.gov.uk

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Thursday, 7 April 2016

How DVSA will operate remote enforcement . . .

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How DVSA will operate remote enforcement

Cited at: http://transportoperator.co.uk/2015/11/06/how-dvsa-will-operate-remote-enforcement/


Scenes like this should become less common for ‘exemplary’ operators which allow DVSA permanent online access to their compliance records

Delegates attending the Freight Transport Association’s Transport Manager Conference in Chepstow, south Wales – one of 12 such events that the FTA hosts at locations through Great Britain each year – were able to hear more about the Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA)’s remote enforcement project from Sam Knight of the DVSA Bristol office.

Ms Knight had been working on the scheme during its successful trial in the Western traffic area. She said remote enforcement would reward compliant operators by not wasting their time at unnecessary roadside stops.

“The emphasis is on legal conformance rather than enforcement. If we have more information about an operator at the roadside then that makes roadside checks quicker.

“If relatively minor faults are found then we can use letters and emails where appropriate rather than making a visit to help the operator put things right.

“The previous ‘one size fits all’ enforcement method was only really suitable for a small number of ‘middling’ operators,” she continued. “It was a waste of time for the best operators but allowed seriously non-compliant operators to get away with it.”

Remote enforcement gave recognition to the degrees of compliance of individual operators. At the top of the tree were those in the ‘exemplary’ category. Ms Knight envisaged that they would allow DVSA permanent online access to drivers’ hours and vehicle maintenance records.

Providing these remained compliant, such operators would be unlikely to be troubled by random roadside stops or spot checks: however, she emphasised that vehicles run by exemplary operators would still be stopped and checked if problems with the vehicle were apparent to officers on the ground.

“Earned recognition does not give immunity from roadside stops, although a vehicle belonging to an exemplary operator is unlikely to be detained for long,” she said. “Vehicles with visible problems will still be stopped and processed no matter who the operator.”

Knight accepted that the vast majority of operators and drivers tried to be compliant but made the occasional slip-up. A broadly compliant operator who received, for example, an S-rated defect would be likely to be asked by letter or email to send in six or twelve months’ maintenance and inspection records for inspection before any further action was decided upon.

‘Nudge interventions’ would also be made where it appeared a previously compliant operator had grown complacent and was allowing standards to slip. Predictive analysis software developed for law enforcement to identify the start of offending behaviour had been adapted for this use.

“What do you do if you are contacted by us?” Ms Knight asked. She came up with five golden rules:
Do not ignore the letter: you will be given two weeks to respond
Contact us anyway if your substantive response will be delayed
Provide the information in full as requested (missing inspection sheets etc will count against you)
Get help from your trade association in getting representation and your operation back into compliance
Work with us to achieve compliance

Ms Knight added that remote enforcement was not an opportunity for unscrupulous operators to try to pull the wool over the eyes of DVSA. Those officials charged with ‘desktop enforcement’ were highly experienced in the world of roadside enforcement, and the information obtained from operators would be externally checked and verified (“triangulated,” in DVSA parlance).

“We will use information from other sources, ANPR cameras for example, and not just our own,” she warned.

There would be earned recognition of exemplary operators. “It’s not a rating system and it doesn’t replace OCRS,” she explained.

Selected operators would be invited to provide apply for recognition as exemplary operators, and they would be required to provide DVSA with access to their compliance systems before such recognition could be awarded.

The resources freed by such recognition would be deployed to ensure vigorous targeting and enforcement of seriously non-compliant operators, including foreign operators. She pointed to an instance where focused DVSA targeting over the space of two days had forced one foreign operator into working with DVSA to become compliant, where previously they had regarded the trickle of fines and penalties imposed on them and their drivers as little more than another business overhead.

“Our aim is to ensure that non-compliance is no longer a cost-effective option and that compliance will equate to good business value,” she concluded.







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Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Highway Code - Lighting requirements . . .

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Lighting requirements 

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

Rule 116

Hazard warning lights. These may be used when your vehicle is stationary, to warn that it is temporarily obstructing traffic. Never use them as an excuse for dangerous or illegal parking. You MUST NOT use hazard warning lights while driving or being towed unless you are on a motorway or unrestricted dual carriageway and you need to warn drivers behind you of a hazard or obstruction ahead. Only use them for long enough to ensure that your warning has been observed.











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Tuesday, 5 April 2016

TC: get compliant or get out of industry . . .

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TC: get compliant or get out of industry

Cited at: http://transportoperator.co.uk/2015/11/04/tc-get-compliant-or-get-out-of-industry/


Operators and drivers who fall foul of DVSA are likely to have to give an account of themselves to their area’s traffic commissioner (TC), and some valuable insight into the mindset of the TCs was given at the recent FTA Transport Manager Conference by Nick Jones, who is TC for both the West Midlands and Welsh traffic areas.

In the opening keynote speech, he explained that his role was to concentrate on those operators and drivers who pose the greatest risk to road safety, and force them either into compliance, or out of the industry altogether.

He explained that the work of the traffic commissioners was funded from operator licence fees paid by both the freight and passenger sector.

“The goods vehicle operators effectively subsidise the passenger sector in their funding of the TCs,” he said, pointing out that while PCVs made up just 10 per cent of the totality of large passenger and heavy goods vehicles on the roads, the supervision and regulation of the passenger sector absorbed about 30-40 per cent of the TCs’ total workload.

Much of this work was the regulation of bus services.

“TCs are not very good at this,” he opined, pointing out that there was no bilingual facility for this in the Welsh Traffic Area and therefore it was not actually legally compliant!

Bus operations were also problematic in his other area, the West Midlands – particularly where smaller vehicles run by taxi companies on restricted licences were concerned.

“The licence discs are often loaned from one operator to another, even though this is an offence that will destroy the operator’s good repute. In Birmingham there are wholesale breaches of the law in this respect with taxi operators renting out their discs. These are not isolated incidents; it’s a widespread practice.”

His suggested solution was that TCs should only have jurisdiction over the operation of vehicles with more than 16 passenger seats, with smaller minibuses being licenced by the local authority as taxis were.

“This would allow TCs to deal effectively with larger vehicles,” he said.

An alternative solution might be to abolish the paper licence discs in favour of online licensing, as had already happened with road tax.

Another reform he suggested was to end the need to advertise the opening of or changes to operating centres.

“Who reads local papers? We know that some operators will choose a particular paper because it has a low circulation. Why not just put a notice on the gate, as you have to with planning applications?”

He pointed out a further anomaly in the law: TCs had no jurisdiction over the environmental impact of PCV operating centres, while they did over freight. He recounted one incident where local residents had complained to him about noise from a premises that was shared by both freight and passenger operators.

It turned out that the nuisance was being caused by a bus operator and he could do nothing about it, while he could have curtailed the offending activity had it been a freight operation.

Mr Jones thought that local planning authorities would be better placed to deal with environmental issues, while traffic commissioners should retain responsibility for road safety and access.

He defended the level of service offered by the Traffic Office in Leeds to operator licence applicants, while admitting that turnaround times were too slow.

“80 per cent of applications are received incomplete and applicants are being given feedback on how to complete the applications properly rather than just having the application bounced back. This causes delays,” he said.

“The present IT system in use in Leeds is very out of date and is being changed. The new system will gatekeep to prevent incomplete applications from being proceeded with. It will also interlink with IT systems in other government offices: for example, with Companies House to verify directors’ details.”

Although the decision on whether to grant a licence or not ultimately lay with the traffic commissioner, much of the process was delegated by the TCs to staff in the Leeds office. Mr Jones said he had full legal responsibility for their decisions but didn’t have management responsibility for their activity.

One area of concern was whether the appointed transport manager actually had the degree of operational control over the applicant’s transport activities that was required. Staff in the Leeds office had a table of scales showing the number of hours a transport manager was expected to work for the number of vehicles in the fleet.

“These tables are guidelines not tramlines, but this is not always acknowledged by those using them,” he admitted.

“We need to look more closely at the transport manager’s performance: how legal is the fleet? Rather than just how many vehicles are in operation, how many hours does the transport manager work for the operator in question and how far does the transport manager live from the operator?

“However, I am still seeing transport managers before me at public inquiry who are obviously little more than managers in name only.

“So we are now looking more at the effectiveness of the transport manager in running a legal fleet than the scale of the operation. We acknowledge that transport managers in larger outfits will have a team working for them and we understand that some compliance checks can now be made remotely.”

The use of independent transport managers appointed by consultant agencies across a number of companies was a continuing concern.

“Traffic commissioners are unhappy when a consultancy appears to have a relationship with an operator, but the transport manager appointed by the consultancy does not,” he said.

Mr Jones admitted that there had been a reduction in DVSA enforcement activity across Great Britain as resources had been diverted to the Next Generation Enforcement project.

“It has dried up in Wales altogether, but this situation is changing because more DVSA inspectors are now being recruited. There will be few Public Inquiries in Wales this year because of the introduction of Next Generation Enforcement, but this will change next year,” he warned.

Besides supervising the activities of operators, TCs were also responsible for driver conduct regulation, and the penalties that they could impose were severe in impact.

“A driver who uses another driver’s digital tachograph card will be off the road for 12 months,” Mr Jones warned.

Using a hand-held mobile when driving was also an offence that the TCs viewed very seriously and they would impose sanctions on professional drivers caught doing this in addition to any fixed penalty or magistrates’ court fine.

“We also differentiate between using a mobile in a private car and in a truck. We are requesting that a new licence endorsement be introduced (CU81) for mobile phone offences in a large vehicle rather than a car (CU80).”

Mr Jones was concerned that many professional drivers were unaware of the power that Traffic Commissioners held over their professional lives.

“I can disqualify a driver from truck and bus driving indefinitely, but there’s no mechanism for publishing this decision, while there is for action taken against operator licences.”

Mr Jones also felt that TCs would be better placed for making decisions about medical fitness to drive than the magistrates who currently handled this.

“Appeals against disqualifications on medical grounds go to magistrates and not TCs – why? Most magistrates may only encounter one such case in their entire time on the bench… TCs would be far better equipped to decide such matters.”

He concluded with the ‘TC’s top tips for TMs’: areas on which transport managers should focus their efforts to ensure compliance
  1. The absent TM: transport managers had to be in effective control, ensuring that their fleets were run legally
  2. Driver detectable defects: were they being picked up by drivers doing daily checks, or only being found during workshop inspections?
  3. Preventative maintenance inspections: were they being competently carried out, acted upon and documented?
  4. Annual tests: was the operator being informed of failures? An eventual pass after retesting would still impact on the OCRS score
  5. Drivers’ vocational entitlements: how often were licences checked? Were drivers entitled to be at the wheel of their vehicles?
  6. Keeping up-to-date: transport legislation was subject to change. The TM had a duty to keep up with changes.



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Monday, 4 April 2016

Driver handed £100 fine and threatened with points on his licence when a speeding camera flashed his PARKED car by mistake . . .

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Driver handed £100 fine and threatened with points on his licence when a speeding camera flashed his PARKED car by mistake

  • Father-of-two parked his car to go and pick up a Chinese takeaway
  • Motorbike shot past and set off speed camera, which pictured parked car
  • Driver was shocked when he was later ordered to pay a £100 fine
  • Authority in charge of fines have now accepted mistake and apologised 

Cited at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3312344/Driver-handed-100-fine-speed-camera-flashed-PARKED-car.html

An innocent driver was hit with a £100 fine for speeding despite his car being parked at the side of the road at the time.

David Copeland, 35, was collecting a Chinese takeaway in Ketley, Shropshire on October 30 when he is supposed to have been speeding.

Despite his car being empty and stationary he was shocked to receive a penalty notice through the post last week informing him he also faced three points on his licence.

The father-of-two contacted the authority which had issued the £100 fine and it emerged bungling workers had failed to realise a passing motorbike had actually triggered the camera.

David Copeland was hit with a speeding fine when a motorbike triggered a speed camera but officials looked at the number plate of his parked car in Ketley, Shropshire

When the camera flashed it had only picked up the number plate of David's silver Vauxhall Zafira, which was parked in a lay-by near to the Ping Hong takeaway.

Mr Copeland, a self-employed electrician, said: 'I had only popped in for a Chinese takeaway.

'The next thing I know I'd committed a motoring offence while I was inside picking up Special Chow Mein and rice.

'I'm not sure there are many people that can say they have been done for speeding while their car was stationary and empty.I was pretty shocked to say the least.

'The other day I was back there when an ambulance on blue lights set it off again - so I'm expecting another fine through the post in a few days.

'I'll be banned from driving at this rate if these mistakes keep happening.'

After Mr Copeland appealed the decision, authorities realised their mistake and overturned the fine

Traffic bosses later accepted staff had issued the ticket to the wrong car and apologised.

Mr Copeland, who lives in Ketley with wife Sarah, 35, son Ben, 10, and Rebecca, 13, added: 'I've not seen the picture, but apparently you can clearly see a motorbike on the road and then my car parked in the lay-by - not moving.

'I live in Ketley and I am always on the road, so I know there is a camera at that spot and I knew something had to be wrong.'

Dave Perridge, operations manager for the Safer Roads Partnership, said: 'On this occasion it was human error but we resolved the problem amicably.

'The parked car's number late appeared brighter in the image than the motorcyclists, but it still should not have happened.

'Our film checker was distraught that she got it wrong but we do thousands of these notices and invariably mistakes can happen.

'Most of the time we are right but we weren't on this occasion and we apologised to the motorist involved and withdrew the notice.'


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