Extending powers to stop is good for enforcement, says FTA16 August 2010

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) is backing plans to extend into Scotland the stopping powers of enforcement officers for commercial vehicles that already in England, Wales and, via the Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA), Northern Ireland.

Says James Firth, FTA's head of road freight and enforcement policy: "FTA members support the move to allow VOSA and DVA, with their specialist knowledge and equipment, to focus on issues of vehicle roadworthiness and road safety. It is simply a better use of time and resources, with the added benefit of freeing-up police time."

However, FTA is also warning that better guidance will be needed to provide drivers with safeguards against bogus VOSA officials.

"Sadly, reports of criminal gangs impersonating VOSA officers to undertake vehicle hijacking, very often involving serious assaults on drivers, are increasingly common," explains Firth. .

"Guidance, similar to that which exists for drivers carrying high-valued loads, needs to be issued to protect drivers who may be genuinely suspicious of the vehicle instructing them to pull over, but equally fearful of prosecution if the officer turns out to be authentic," he adds.

Brian Tinham

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