Friday, 10 June 2016

RHA: RHA rejects TfL window plan


RHA rejects TfL window plan

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The RHA has rejected a proposal that HGV operators in London should be forced to fit an additional window to their trucks as hugely costly for little or no clear benefit to road safety.

We have welcomed, however, moves to review cab design in order to to improve safety, which are under way in Brussels.

You can read the RHA's consultation response to Transport for London here.

The RHA Shop offers a range of vehicle and driver safety products, at competitive prices. Browse the full range here.

Facts about 'driverless' trucks

A flurry of media reports has suggested that driverless trucks are about to be trialled in the UK, for example on the M6.

These reports refer to 'platooning', in which a number of articulated lorries, perhaps up to six, run in very close convoy, electronically coupled and with a driver still in each cab, at least for the near future. Off-road trials are planned for financial year 2017/18 and if they are successful on-road trials will follow soon after that. The scoping for the study is going on now.

The concept was first shown to journalists as technology-ready more than a decade ago and there is interest in the concept around the world. In Europe, there are trials planned in Sweden, the Netherlands and Spain.

In the UK, the work is being commissioned by the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles, based at the Department for Transport. The RHA is in contact with the CCAV and we hope to work closely with the study.

The technology clearly has to demonstrate it is cost-effective, operationally practical and above all safe, if it is to overcome regulatory obstacles and win industry acceptance. Its application will be very different in remote Sweden or Australia than on the M25.

But some of the enabling technology and driver aids involved in platooning are in any case coming in stages to the industry - for example the device on the latest Euro 6 trucks that automatically apply the brakes if another vehicle gets too close joining on a motorway. (Feedback, either positive or negative, on how this system is working in practice and whether it is being left on as delivered is welcome.)

As part of our engagement with the CCAV, we are setting up a member forum. Anyone wishing to join the forum, please email

Meanwhile, members may be interested in the following links to see what is happening elsewhere in Europe.

Driverless vehicles tested in Greenwich, London from July

The government is providing £9 million in funding for the testing of autonomous vehicles in Greenwich, London with transport minister Andrew Jones saying that driverless cars will improve road safety and bring huge benefits to the economy.

The pod-like vehicles are already being used on tracks at Heathrow Airport, but will be adapted for use in Greenwich from this July.

The Greenwich project is being run by the UK Smart Mobility Living Lab @ Greenwich which has been set up by the Transport Research Laboratory.

You can see what the vehicles look like here and here.

Meanwhile a Google self-driving car hit a bus in a minor crash last month in California, USA. The accident is said to be the first case of one of Google’s autonomous cars being at fault in a crash. Google has said that the incident occurred when a self-driving Lexus RX450h tried to manoeuvre round sandbags placed in a lane.

MPs and FairFuel rally to stop Budget fuel duty hike

Conservative MP for Colne Valley Jason McCartney, and representatives from RHA backed FairFuel UK met Treasury minister Damian Hinds yesterday to warn against putting up fuel duty in the Budget next Wednesday.

With FairFuel saying that UK fuel duty plus VAT amounts to approximately 75% of the pump price, which gives the UK the highest fuel duty in the EU for diesel and the third highest for petrol, media reports say that up to 150 Conservative MPs have decided to campaign to keep fuel duty down.

Oil barrel prices have started edging up with Brent crude now at around $40 per barrel as against the low of sub-$30 a barrel in January. Some commentators are saying that the barrel price trend will be up from now on.

Members wanting to help the campaign should contact their MPs to ask for duty to be kept down.

The RHA publishes a weekly Fuel Survey for members to monitor fuel prices and trends. Members can view the survey here. In addition, RHA Fuel Card can help stabilise your fuel expenditure.

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