Thursday, 30 June 2016

Councils get new powers to tear down pointless road signs . . .


Councils get new powers to tear down pointless road signs

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New rules mean unnecessary and out-of-date road signs can be removed from our roads from 22 April 2016.

  • ensuring road signs that are used far longer than needed have a ‘remove by’ date
  • making sure traffic signs are visible on unlit roads
  • stopping temporary message signs from being cluttered with adverts and distracting logos
New powers to tear down pointless road signs that are an eyesore and distract drivers will be given to councils next week (22 April 2016).

The number of signs on our roads, more than doubled from 2.45 million in England in 1993 to an estimated 4.57 million in 2013.

Now simpler rules are being brought in to give town halls the power to take down unnecessary signs and for the first time, signs that say ‘new’ layout ahead will have ‘remove by dates’ on the back so they are not needlessly left in place for years.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said:
Road signs should only be installed on our roads when they are essential. Our common-sense reforms will help get rid of pointless signs that are an eyesore and distract drivers.

These new rules will also save £30 million in taxpayers’ cash by 2020, leaving drivers with just the signs they need to travel safely.

The department has appointed Sir Alan Duncan MP to lead a task force that is looking at removing pointless signs – and this crackdown will pave the way for wider changes.

Too many signs look ugly and stop drivers seeing only essential messages. Cutting the number and size of signs will help reduce unnecessary eyesores for all road users and local residents.

Councils are responsible for signs on their local roads and are expected to save £30 million in running costs by 2020 as a result of the simpler new sign rules.

Fewer signs also need to be lit than before, which will save energy costs and light pollution. Safety signs must still be lit, for example – stop signs or signs for low bridges.

New roundabout and layout signs are sometimes left up for years – and they should be taken down within 3 months. They will now have ‘remove by’ dates on the back, so residents know when they should go and can hold their local authorities to account. These signs are:

In other reforms being brought in:
  • the requirement for both a sign and a road marking has been removed in some cases - for example, a mandatory cycle lane or ‘permit holders only’ parking bay now only need to be shown with a road marking
  • only 1 sign now needs be installed to show the start of a traffic restriction such as no entry, or no left-turn if it’s safe
  • the requirement to place repeat speed limit signs has been removed - now councils can make their own decisions on how many speed limit signs are needed so that drivers know what limits apply
  • after successful trials, councils can now install new eye-level cycle traffic lights to make busy junctions easier and safer for cyclists
  • smaller sizes are now available for signs such as those aimed only at walkers and cyclists to avoid cluttering roads needlessly

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Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Road blocked after lorry gets stuck in Pentre Lane, Henllys near Cwmbran . . .


Road blocked after lorry gets stuck in Pentre Lane, Henllys near Cwmbran

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Road blocked after lorry becomes stuck in country lane

Road blocked after lorry becomes stuck in country lane

Turners Supply Chain Solutions have issued a statement about their HGV that became stuck in country lane in Henllys, near Cwmbran this morning.

Managing director Paul Day, stated the vehicle was making frozen food deliveries to Brown Bear Foods in Cwmbran heading towards Llantarnam Park Industrial Estate on the A4042.

He explained that after being alerted to a road closure along Newport Road, the driver made the “error” of entering Pentre Lane with the aim of turning around on the side road.

“Obviously he didn’t have that opportunity and ended up getting completely stuck as seen in the photographs,” Mr Day said.

He added: “We have checked with Brown Bear Foods and they confirm the road closure and that it was due to housing development building project.

“We can only apologise to the local residents, this was a genuine error by our driver.

“We will formally interview the driver on his return but at this stage we have stated the situation as he explained over the phone.”

UPDATE: 3.39pm

The lorry was winched from the lane by Lanes Recovery of Abergavenny at around 10.30am this morning.

A spokeswoman said: “We have a large recovery fleet and we attended this morning with an ex-Army Bedford 4X4.

“It’s small enough to fit down the lane but powerful enough to winch a 44-tonne lorry free.”

She added: “This is the second time this has happened on this lane in the last few months.”

UPDATE: 12pm

A LORRY blocked a road in Cwmbran this morning after attempting to navigate a narrow country lane.

The HGV set off down Pentre Lane, Henllys, navigating over a mile and a half of twists and sharp bends before becoming wedged against the banks at the final stretch.

The lane sits between the Three Blackbirds Inn and Castell-y-Bwlch pub and has signage at both entrances warning the road is not suitable for HGV vehicles.

Nigel Pugh Larry,63, lives off the lane at Duffryn Cottage and witnessed the blunder at 8am this morning, stating the lorry was taken by a break down company at 10.30am.

He said: “This has been a problem in the past and when the lorries get wedged they actually damage the bank.

“I would hope that Torfaen Council will actually charge the company for the damage they have caused.”

The lorry belongs to Suffolk-based company Turners Supply Chain Solutions who are currently looking into the incident.

Mr Larry has stated the lane has a history of lorries becoming stuck, ranging from a trapped HGV in May last year to another incident where the contents of a lorry spilled onto the lane.

He added: “This happened on refuse collection day which means that the waste vehicles couldn’t actually access the lane to do their pickups today.

“The driver had to navigate some nasty bends to end up there.”

Torfaen council have been contacted for comment.

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Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Sign appeal after lorry stuck in Monmouthshire lane . . .


Sign appeal after lorry stuck in Monmouthshire lane

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It is not thought the driver of the lorry was injured when it toppled over

Residents in Monmouthshire are calling for a sign to stop lorries using a narrow lane as a shortcut after one became stuck and toppled over.

People living in the hamlet of Gwehelog Fawr believe sat navs are sending unaware drivers down the lane as a way of getting to an industrial estate.

Olivia Beaumont, clerk of the community council, said the stuck lorry had damaged fields.

But Monmouthshire council said the sign was "not justified in this location".

There is already a sign at one end of the lane and it has agreed to put a second sign at another entry point.

But Mrs Beaumont said lorries were also using another entrance to the lane off the main road and this needed a sign too to make sure drivers were aware their vehicles would not be able to get through.

She said the lorry that became stuck was proof more needed to be done.

"This isn't even a B-road, it's so small it's classed as an R-road. It's a single track road with passing places," she said.

"There is no way a lorry can get through it and most drivers realise that after they have committed to travelling down it. They then have to reverse out."
'Professional judgement'

Following this incident, Gwehelog Fawr Community Council asked for further signage specifically aimed at HGV drivers.

A response sent to it by Monmouthshire council's area engineer said a sign was not justifiable as there was "no evidence of excessive or large numbers of errant HGVs" using the lane.

HGV drivers could "reasonably be expected to stay on the main road here and use their professional judgement when considering which road is appropriate for their type of vehicle", the statement added.

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Highway Code: Using the Road - General Rules . . .


Using the road - General rules

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

Rule 159

Before moving off you should
  • use all mirrors to check the road is clear 
  • look round to check the blind spots (the areas you are unable to see in the mirrors) 
  • signal if necessary before moving out 
  • look round for a final check. 

Move off only when it is safe to do so.

Read more about using the road - general rules

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Monday, 27 June 2016

Motorist caught 100 times over drug drive limit . . .


Motorist caught 100 times over drug drive limit

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Adriver who was stopped by police was found to be more than 120 times over the drug driving limit, with ecstasy, cocaine and amphetamines in his system.

Gintars Garkajs, 30, was stopped at 2am on January 10 while driving his Audi A6 in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire.

Suspicious that he might be driving under the influence, officers subjected Garkajs to a roadside drug wipe test which indicated the presence of cocaine.

After being arrested he underwent further tests which showed that he was more than 120 times of the legal limit for MDMA, the chemical name for the drug ecstasy.

He was also found to be ten times over the limit for cocaine and also had traces of the stimulant amphetamine in his system.

Garkajs from Wisbech, pleaded guilty to driving under the influence when he appeared at Cambridge Magistrates Court, where he was jailed for 18 weeks and banned from driving for five years.

“Driving under the influence of drugs is completely unacceptable. “By doing so you significantly increase the chance of being involved in a serious, even fatal collision. It’s simple, if you’ve consumed drugs, don’t risk driving.”
Sergeant Ian Manley

Sergeant Ian Manley from the Cambridgeshire force said: “Driving under the influence of drugs is completely unacceptable.

“By doing so you significantly increase the chance of being involved in a serious, even fatal collision. It’s simple, if you’ve consumed drugs, don’t risk driving.”

Drug driving limits are set very low for illegal substances and there are also designated levels for some prescription medicines.

Other so called impairment tests can also be conducted to determine a person’s ability to drive.

Figures published earlier this year showed the vast scale of the problem of drug driving with as many as six motorists in ten who were subjected to roadside tests proving positive.

Drivers impaired by drugs are believed to be responsible for up to 200 deaths on British roads annually.

Those convicted of drug driving can receive a minimum one year driving ban, a fine of up to £5,000 and up to a year in prison.

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Sunday, 26 June 2016

Outrage as woman eats bowl of pasta while driving on motorway . . .


Outrage as woman eats bowl of pasta while driving on motorway

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A WOMAN has been filmed “eating a pasta salad with a fork” while joining a busy motorway and then driving at speeds of up to 50mph.

Dad-of-one Mariusz Kedzior, 44, was driving with his friend David Gibek on the M60 near Manchester Airport when they spotted the woman join the motorway at Junction 15.

The female driver of the red Ford Fiesta was filmed on his dashcam joining the motorway at around 50mph.

In disbelief at what they had just seen, Mariusz passed the car again so that David could take pictures from the passenger side.

claims the woman can be seen forking in mouthfuls of food

She can be seen visibly swaying in the lanes

“I have 11 years' experience of driving on the road and I have never seen anything like this”Mariusz Kedzior

Mariusz claims the woman can be clearly seen forking in mouthfuls of food with her right hand while holding the bowl of pasta salad in her left, barely in control of the wheel.

In other pictures, she switches the food to her right hand while she attempts to manoeuvre the vehicle one-handed – visibly swaying in the lane in the dashcam footage.

Mariusz, from Crewe, Cheshire, said: "As a lorry driver, I have 11 years' experience of driving on the road and I have never seen anything like this.

"Both me and David were completely shocked by what we saw at first and couldn't quite believe it. That was why we just had to take pictures of what she was doing.

A woman has been filmed eating pasta at the wheel

"David started taking pictures as we drove alongside her and he was doing it for a while but she was so busy eating she did not notice at all. She was simply too focused on her food.

"There were lots of cars and HGVs around so the road was far from empty but thankfully it was not rush hour.

“I think it is a very dangerous thing to do while driving."

The footage, recorded around midday on March 15, shows the woman driving at speeds varying from 42mph up to 50mph.

David, a 39-year-old computer technician, said: "It was so crazy. I think it is very dangerous for all road users who were around as she did it.

"We were quite angry at what we saw and very shocked. I'm not sure how she thought doing that was OK."

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Saturday, 25 June 2016

Almost 1000 children were caught driving without a licence in 2014, new research has revealed.


Almost 1000 children were caught driving without a licence in 2014, new research has revealed.

  • Scale of underage driving problem revealed
  • Research from the RAC reveals that just under 1000 children were caught driving a car without a licence in 2014; the youngest was only 11
Cited at:

Almost 1000 children were caught driving without a licence in 2014, new research has revealed.

A Freedom of Information request on behalf of the RAC has revealed that 991 drivers under 17 were caught driving on public roads in 2014 - a rise of 21% on 2012’s statistics.

The youngest driver to be caught was an 11-year-old boy. The youngest girl to be caught was 12. The figures show that the problem of underage driving is a male-dominated one, with 961 boys being convicted, compared with just 30 girls.

Among motorists who do hold full driving licences, men are more than three times more likely to be convicted of driving without insurance than women.

Convictions among men over 65 rose by 23%, from 809 convictions in 2012 to 991 in 2014, with the oldest man convicted being 94.

RAC insurance director Mark Godfrey said: “In trying to discover how many people have been convicted of driving without insurance, we found there is a shocking number of children who are caught driving before they’re even old enough to apply for a provisional licence, let alone have proper instruction.

“Sadly, we may have little choice but to accept there will always be a minority of young males who will be prepared to drive without a licence or insurance.”

Godfrey also notes these figures are only “the tip of the iceberg”, because the insurance industry estimates there could be as many as one million uninsured drivers on the roads.

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Friday, 24 June 2016

Heart-stopping footage captures the moment a driver swerves just in time to avoid a truck driving at 70mph on the wrong side of the road in Texas . . .


Heart-stopping footage captures the moment a driver swerves just in time to avoid a truck driving at 70mph on the wrong side of the road in Texas

Mike Wetz turned a corner and saw Dodge Ram hurtling towards him
'It felt as though the driver was aiming for me' said shaken-up Mr Wetz
He was forced to swerve his Ford Focus into the hard shoulder

Cited at:

The moment a driver narrowly missed a head-on collision with a truck driving down the wrong side on the road has been caught on film. 

As Mike Wetz drove through Texas on Sunday 19 March, the road he was on seemed quiet and clear.

But as he cruised round a bend, a Dodge Ram travelling at 70mph on the wrong side soon came in to view.

Texan driver narrowly avoids head-on collision with a truck!

The truck driver continued, seemingly oblivious, straight towards Mr Wetz's Ford Focus. 

With a split-second swerve, Mr Wetz manoeuvred to the hard shoulder with the truck unflinching in its direction, just missing his car.

Mr Wetz, from Bandera, Texas, USA, said: 'It was a heart-in mouth moment - the truck driver seemed almost suicidal.

Mr Wetz turned a corner and noticed a large truck hurtling towards him on the wrong side of the road 

'Everything seemed to move in slow motion for a few seconds.

'It felt as though the driver was aiming for me, he didn't even flinch as he sped towards me' said Mr Weltz. 

He added that it was terrifying to think about what might have happened if he hadn't have swerved.

'It all happened too fast I didn't get a chance to see who was driving or what they were doing.

'My mind was racing evaluating the options I had after I recognised there was a major issue with this vehicle. 

Mr Wetz managed to avoid crashing by swerving into the road's hard shoulder and said it was terrifying to think about what might have happened if he hadn't have done so 

The Dodge driver did not appear to change their speed and Mr Wetz said as though he felt though he was being aimed at 

He said he didn't turn back and drive after the man because he wanted to be as far away from him as possible 

'I was in shock, I did not turn around and chase the guy down my reaction was to get as far away from this guy as possible.

'My vehicle is a Ford Focus - weighing about 3,200lbs - and the Dodge Ram truck is over 7,000lbs.

'There wasn't good odds in a fight with us each going 70mph.'

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Thursday, 23 June 2016

Budget 2016: Driverless lorries get UK trials . . .


Budget 2016: Driverless lorries get UK trials

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Daimler is one company developing self-driving lorries

Driverless lorries and cars will be trialled in the UK, the government has confirmed in its Budget.

Earlier in March, The Times suggested trials would take place on a "quiet stretch" of the M6 motorway in Cumbria in 2016.

The government has now confirmed "lorry platooning" trials, in which vehicles form a convoy headed by a driver in the leading lorry, will go ahead.

It also announced that driverless cars will be trialled on UK roads by 2017.

In the Budget, published on Wednesday, the government said it wanted the UK to be "a global centre for excellence in connected and autonomous vehicles".
The driverless lorry plan was outlined in the Chancellor's full Budget posted online

Companies such as Ford and Google have been testing autonomous cars for months, but trials typically take place in California.

Edmund King, president of roadside recovery firm AA, has questioned the feasibility of a lorry platooning scheme in the UK.

"The problem with the UK motorway network is that we have more entrances and exits of our motorways than any other motorways in Europe or indeed the world," he said earlier in March.

"Therefore it's very difficult to have a 44 tonne 10-lorry platoon, because other vehicles need to get past the platoon to enter or exit the road."

Other technology-related points in the Budget included:
  • plans for a £15m "connected corridor" between Dover and London with infrastructure that could communicate directly with vehicles.
  • trials of comparative fuel signage on the M5 motorway between Bristol and Exeter, letting drivers see the best deals.
  • development of a "5G" strategy in 2017, preparing the UK for next-generation wireless communications.
  • a £1,000 tax-free allowance for "micro-entrepreneurs" who sell products online, and a second £1,000 allowance for people who rent out their home online.

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Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Drivers’ hours: staying on track . . .


Drivers’ hours: staying on track

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When drivers are away from base for extended periods of time, it’s essential for operators to keep a track of their drivers’ activity. A recent case before the Traffic Commissioner shows how the consequences of failing to monitor and record a driver’s working hours can have a dramatic impact on an operator’s business, as well as the driver’s livelihood.

Drivers and operators who break the rules create a significant risk to road safety

Using another driver’s card to falsify a tachograph record is a serious offence. This kind of conduct undermines the principles of the drivers’ hours and tachograph rules. The rules exist so that employers and enforcement bodies, like the DVSA and the police, can check the genuine record of a person’s driving, other work and rest periods. These checks identify whether a driver has been driving or working excessively and if they’ve been driving while tired. Drivers and operators who break the rules compete unfairly against compliant operators and create a significant risk to road safety.

Driver disqualified from professional driving for 12 months and vocational licence revoked

At a public inquiry and driver conduct hearing earlier this year, Traffic Commissioner Nick Denton heard about a driver who had committed a total of 84 drivers’ hours and tachograph offences. This included 28 false records which were made using another driver’s card. A DVSA investigation showed the driver had regularly been working between 70 and 80 hours a week. On some occasions, it even went beyond that – in one instance, he worked for 94 hours.

The Traffic Commissioner said the driver had deliberately and knowingly used another driver’s card to falsify records and disguise “grossly excessive driving and working hours”. The driver’s offences had been motivated by financial reward and Mr Denton disqualified the driver from professional driving for 12 months and revoked his vocational licence.

Consequences for employers

There were consequences for his employer too. The transport manager and the company had been aware the driver was a ‘high risk’ because of the length of time he spent away from base. The company also knew that the driver’s circumstances meant that he desperately needed extra money. The driver had been submitting timesheets for 80-90 hours per week and was paid for this. Yet the company had no systems in place to properly monitor driving and working time.

The company also failed to carry out the legally required downloads from the vehicle unit. This would have revealed the use of the other driver’s card – a driver who was completely unknown to the operator.
An accident in 2002 caused by a driver who exceeded his hours. 4 people were killed and the driver was jailed for 5 years.

Serious negligence that threatens road safety

The Traffic Commissioner criticised the company and its transport manager, saying that their serious negligence had allowed the driver to work excessive hours. Their actions had jeopardised road safety and given them a competitive advantage over other operators for an extended period of time.

The company’s licence was suspended for 2 weeks and the transport manager was disqualified. In future, if the transport manager wishes to apply to regain their repute, they will have to retake the Transport Manager Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) examination.

Knowing the value of staying on track with your drivers’ hours

Failing to uphold the basic standards around drivers’ hours and tachograph compliance affected the operator, transport manager and driver. The Traffic Commissioner’s decisions placed restrictions on their ability to operate in the industry.

As a compliant operator, transport manager or driver, you’ll know the value of staying on track with your drivers’ hours.

For more information, see the drivers’ hours advice and guidance on GOV.UK.

Road safety research reveals proportion of road traffic crashes caused by driver sleepiness

Road Safety Research Report no. 52 - Sleep-Related Crashes on Sections of Different Road Types in the UK studied the proportion of road traffic crashes caused by driver sleepiness between 1995 and 2001 and reported the following statistics:
  • Of the 1828 road traffic crashes (RTCs) resulting in death or injury (96% of available data), 17% (316) of these RTCs were sleep related
  • Of these 316 crashes, 62% (197) were ‘possible’ and 38% (119) were ‘probable’ (sleep-related crashes) SRCs
  • 23% of RTCs were caused by drivers of HGVs/LGVs/MGVs, compared to 26% in SRCs
  • If vans are included then these values rise to 29% and 33% respectively

Road Safety Research Report no. 52 was compiled by the Sleep Research Centre at Loughborough University and commissioned by the Department for Transport.

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Disquiet over new mayor’s transport plans . . .


Disquiet over new mayor’s transport plans

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The election of Labour’s Sadiq Khan as London mayor is already ruffling feathers within the road transport industry, if reaction to some of his policy announcements from sector representatives is any indication.

Mr Khan’s election manifesto included a pledge to: “reduce the number of large lorries on the city’s roads, particularly at the busiest times” – as well as a promise to “promote safer, cleaner lorries,” work on which, early announcements confirm, is already underway.

Transport for London’s (TfL) freight and fleet communications and engagement manager Tim Ward told the Microlise Transport Conference in Coventry last month that 90 per cent of all freight in London (worth an estimated £200 billion a year) was currently carried on the road. Traffic congestion was estimated to cost £26 billion a year.

And the situation was likely to only get worse because: “in the next 14 years, the population of London will grow by the equivalent of the populations of Birmingham and Leeds.”

To stem pollution, Mr Khan is already consulting on plans to introduce an additional central London traffic charge next year for the most polluting vehicles entering the city; proposals to bring forward the ultra-low emission zone (ULEZ) compliance date so that all diesel vans and trucks entering inner London (crossing the North or South Circular Roads) will need to meet their respective Euro 6 standards, possibly as early as 2018; and a requirement for all trucks entering Greater London to be Euro 6 by 2020.

He also announced proposals for TfL to ‘lead by example’ by purchasing only hybrid or zero-emission double-decker buses from 2018; introducing self-imposed ULEZ standards a year earlier than the rest of the scheme for the double-decker bus fleet; expanding the ULEZ retrofit programme to 3,000 buses outside the central zone; and implementing ‘clean bus corridors’ on the dirtiest routes.

Responding to questions asked at the Microlise Conference, Mr Ward told delegates that it was not in TfL’s gift to ease restrictions on night-time truck movements to compensate for potential lost delivery opportunities in the day, because the Lorry Control Scheme was administered by the London boroughs.

He suggested that continuous improvements in vehicle design meant that the scheme might now be considered unnecessary.

“It was put in place 30 years ago and has not been reviewed since,” he pointed out.

The Road Haulage Association said it was keen to work with the new mayor to address congestion pollution and road safety, and it had invited Mr Khan to spend a day in the cab of a truck in London, so he could see the situation for himself.

Addressing calls from various quarters for a rush-hour truck ban, chief executive Richard Burnett said: “This is not the answer. Such a move would simply increase the number of vehicles, particularly vans, using the roads at a time when London residents expect to have their ‘day’ delivered.

“Restaurants and other retail outlets would suffer and the delays to construction projects, already working within strict time constraints, would be inevitable.”

The British Vehicle Rental & Leasing Association chief executive Gerry Keaney commented: “Last minute adjustments to the ULEZ scheme would not give businesses time to prepare and could punish a large number of companies who have already planned their vehicle requirements based on the scheduled 2020 introduction date.

“It took years of planning, research and consultation to come up with the current ULEZ proposals and rushing through with any changes could have major unforeseen repercussions.”

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) said Mr Khan’s air quality plans would add substantial cost for transport operators and businesses, and could put some small firms out of work altogether.

In a letter to Mr Khan, the FTA’s chief executive, David Wells, added: “I must be honest and say that, given calls for simplistic HGV bans, the way policy may develop in London concerns our 15,000 member businesses more than almost any other issue in the UK.”

Welcoming the new mayor to his role, FTA’s head of national and regional policy Christopher Snelling said: “Mr Khan must remember how crucial logistics is to London.

“The capital requires 360,000 tonnes of goods delivered every day by lorry just to keep functioning. And Mr Khan’s ambition to build 80,000 new homes a year will need more than two million HGV trips to make it happen.”

He highlighted a review of the London Lorry Control Scheme; a congestion charge discount for the latest-generation clean lorries and vans; and increased support for targeted enforcement of rogue operators, as key policy areas which: “we think the new mayor should pursue immediately.”

Jacqueline O’Donovan, managing director of Tottenham-based O’Donovan Waste Disposal, said she was disappointed to hear of plans to bring the ULEZ forward, since it would leave “operators with very little time to plan for the reforms”.

She continued: “[Mr Khan’s] clean air revolution will require HGV operators to reduce diesel emissions in all forms across their entire fleets, as well as require them to adopt new clean technologies.

“At O’Donovan our operations fully support our overall objective to dramatically improve sustainability, by reducing the carbon impact of construction waste logistics.

“We have already made significant reductions to idling and reduced carbon impact, and our fleet management system has seen a 50 per cent drop in vehicle idling over a five-year period – thereby reducing the company’s carbon footprint by 21.5 per cent. But this does not happen overnight and the wider industry needs time to make further changes and adopt new technologies.”

Ashley Sowerby, managing director at fleet management software specialist Chevin, said fleets across the country should look carefully at Mr Khan’s proposals, as they could form a blueprint for how vehicles are targeted in other major cities in the UK.

“If adopted, they will create pressure on other cities to make similar moves, which is something that will affect more and more fleets over the next few years.

“A key point to note is that the new suggestions are envisaged as happening much more quickly than previous ideas for London. The additional congestion charge could happen in 2017 and the extended emissions zone by 2019.”

Mr Sowerby pointed to the recent naming of the UK’s first four Go Ultra Low cities – Nottingham, Bristol, Milton Keynes and London – as evidence of a general trend towards central and local government working to improve air quality.

“This is something that fleets across the country will undoubtedly be encountering more and more. We could soon reach a point where they have to address the issue operationally.”

Meanwhile, road safety charity Brake welcomed Mr Khan’s pledge to support further rollouts of 20mph zones across the capital.

Gary Rae, director of com-munications and campaigns, said: “Mr Khan’s backing clearly shows that he recognises that 20mph limits can enable people to get around their neighbourhoods, towns and city centres more safely, whilst promoting a healthy and sustainable environment.”

The new London mayor’s attitude to road transport was a hot topic at a round table event at the Microlise Transport Conference, which saw representatives of the seven major truck manufacturers active in the UK take questions from the floor.

Ray Ashworth, managing director of DAF, said: “We could end up with politicians designing trucks. There’s a danger of local mayors having specific design requirements for trucks operating in ‘their’ cities.

“Maybe the train has left the station, but we need at very least a common standard: we know that TfL has a view of what’s required.”

Nigel Butler, commercial director of Renault Trucks UK, said: “There’s a danger of Manchester and Birmingham each wanting something different from each other, and perhaps different again from London.”

Volvo’s product manager John Comer warned: “Truck design is a slow business…a long-haul cab design will last 21 years,” while MAN’s managing director Simon Elliott opined: “We will have to do what local government wants, whether that be on fuel and exhaust emissions or adding extra mirrors.”

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Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Highway Code: Driving in hot weather . . .


Driving in hot weather 

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

Rule 237

Hot weather. Keep your vehicle well ventilated to avoid drowsiness. Be aware that the road surface may become soft or if it rains after a dry spell it may become slippery. These conditions could affect your steering and braking. If you are dazzled by bright sunlight, slow down and if necessary, stop.

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Monday, 20 June 2016

Drive Over Potholes Straight On If You Can't Avoid Them . . .


Drive Over Potholes Straight On If You Can't Avoid Them

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Potholes are in roads all over the place, especially right after winter. Not only are they annoying, they can damage your car if you aren’t careful.

If you’re driving on a road you know is a little worse for wear, keep your speed down and watch for potholes in the road so you can avoid them. No matter how hard you try, however, impact with a pothole is inevitable. In that case, Gene Peterson at Consumer Reports suggests you slow down as much as you can (safely), then drive straight through the pothole. If you hit it at a weird angle, or turn into the pothole as you go through it, you could damage the sidewall of your tires. Tires damaged that way can blow out and create a much more serious situation. Plus, swerving out of the way at the last second can be super dangerous. If you hit the pothole straight on and something feels off with the way your car drives, get it checked out as soon as possible. It’s also a good idea to always keep your tire pressure at the recommended levels.

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Sunday, 19 June 2016

Highway Code: Using the road - Take extra care at road junctions . . .


Using the road - Take extra care at road junctions 

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

Rule 170

Take extra care at junctions. You should 
  • watch out for cyclists, motorcyclists, powered wheelchairs/mobility scooters and pedestrians as they are not always easy to see. Be aware that they may not have seen or heard you if you are approaching from behind 
  • watch out for pedestrians crossing a road into which you are turning. If they have started to cross they have priority, so give way 
  • watch out for long vehicles which may be turning at a junction ahead; they may have to use the whole width of the road to make the turn (see Rule 221) 
  • watch out for horse riders who may take a different line on the road from that which you would expect 
  • not assume, when waiting at a junction, that a vehicle coming from the right and signalling left will actually turn. Wait and make sure 
  • look all around before emerging. Do not cross or join a road until there is a gap large enough for you to do so safely. 

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