Legal update: September 202003 September 2020

This page is brought to you by specialist transport law firm Backhouse Jones. Its COVID-19 hub is available via www.is.gd/ifogih

REGULATORY

Government to ban older tyres

Tyres aged 10 years and older will be banned from lorries, buses and coaches on roads in England, Scotland and Wales in a boost to road safety, announced roads minister Baroness Vere on 15 July 2020.

The ban follows an extensive investigation, including research commissioned by the Department for Transport, which indicates ageing tyres suffer corrosion which could cause them to fail.

The move will make it illegal to fit tyres aged 10 years or older to the front wheels of lorries, buses and coaches, and all wheels of minibuses.

The secondary legislation will be laid in the autumn and will also apply to retreaded tyres – with the date of re-treading to be marked – making the age of the tyre clearly visible.

Minister Vere said: “In the same way that you wouldn’t drive a car with faulty brakes, ensuring your tyres are fit for purpose is crucial in making every journey safer. Taking this step will give drivers across the country confidence their lorries, buses and coaches are truly fit for use − a safety boost for road users everywhere. This change is in no small way the result of years of campaigning, particularly from Frances Molloy, to whom I thank and pay tribute.”

Molloy’s son died in a crash in 2012 in a coach whose front axle was fitted with a 19-year-old tyre.

REGULATORY

Road user levy suspended

The Treasury has announced that the UK HGV Road User Levy (which applies to UK and foreign HGVs of 12 tonnes or more using the UK road network) will be suspended for one year from 1 August 2020 to assist hauliers to recover from the financial strain caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

REGULATORY

DVSA plays favourites

DVSA has announced plans to offer some fleets a 12-month exemption from MOT testing requirements, in an attempt to manage demand at authorised testing facilities (ATFs) as the country emerges from COVID-19 lockdown. Since heavy vehicle testing restarted on 4 July, DVSA has been offering three-month certificates of temporary exemption (CTEs) to vehicles and trailers due for test. That scheme will remain in place until March 2021 for all vehicles and trailers that have not already received one, DVSA stated on 1 August.

Certain vehicles and trailers due for test up to March 2021 will get longer exemptions, because they are considered to be safer, DVSA said. Three types of operators and vehicles are being offered a 12-month exemption: operators who comply with Earned Recognition, vehicles or trailers less than two years old, and operators in green OCRS roadworthiness band with 50 or more roadworthiness events and a calculated roadworthiness base score of 1.3 or lower on 27 July.

REGULATORY

Maintenance relaxations

The traffic commissioners (TCs) have announced an end to maintenance inspection interval relaxations from 1 September. They had previously agreed a risk-based approach during the COVID-19 pandemic. As restrictions begin to lift, operators should be able to access maintenance facilities again.

FACT FILE

Tachograph calibration

Following a reader query on last month’s ‘Tacho calibration intervals extended’ note on this page, further explanation is provided.

On 3 April 2020, DVSA temporarily extended the validity of all tachograph calibration certificates for three months to relieve pressure on the tachograph and vehicle maintenance industry. Since then, the EU introduced measures to extend the validity of certificates for six months when they expire from 1 March 2020 to 31 August 2020. So in July DVSA amended its guidance to match. Consequently, all tachograph calibration certificates issued from 1 September 2018 must be calibrated within the usual two-year deadline.

As previously, any faults with the tachograph system must be repaired as normal, the tachograph system must function as required by the legislation, and the system is required to be sealed in line with the requirements. Initial calibrations are to continue, and any changes to the various parameters (such are tyre size, vehicle registration, etc) will also require action as normal.

See here for details: www.is.gd/gururo

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