DfT rolls out ‘no-deal’ guidance
In the event that Britain exits the EU on a ‘no-deal’ basis on 29 March 2019, the Department for Transport (DfT) issued six technical notices in September. For hauliers and bus operators, they cover:
•Driving in the EU
•Commercial road haulage in the EU
•Operating bus or coach services abroad.
The message at this stage is that early preparation will be key for operators of HGVs and PSVs.
Technical notices can be found via https://is.gd/korilo and https://is.gd/ifefur. In addition, trade association FTA has published its own post-Brexit guidance for operators: https://is.gd/ajovox.
In other news, legislation on cross-border haulage was given royal assent in July. This should help to enable British hauliers to continue operating internationally post-Brexit. Although reciprocal access for road hauliers is the overall aim of the government, a permitting system may still actually be required. A legal framework would be necessary in order to introduce a new administrative structure. The Haulage Permits and Trailer Registration Act allows the government to have this flexibility. A permit administration scheme and a trailer registration scheme are currently in development by the DVSA and DVLA respectively, with the intention to be open for applications later this year.
Transporting dangerous or hazardous goods requires form VTG15 as proof of compliance. The type of authorised testing facility (ATF) it goes to is also important. A green ATF is for vehicles declared purged and safe for inspection. An amber ATF should be used if the vehicle has transported certain ‘UN’ products and is not declared purged. Finally, those carrying other dangerous substances must go to a red ATF.
AdBlue checks go nationwide
A regional clampdown on the use of AdBlue emulators found high rates of non-compliance. Some 10,000 truck checks between February and August 2018 turned up 388 vehicles with cheating devices fitted (4%). This has triggered the roll-out of cheat device checks nationwide, as part of DEFRA’s wider policy to cut emissions. Drivers could be faced with a £300 fine, and even have their vehicle removed from the road if they are caught with an emissions cheat device or faulty emissions control system that is not corrected within 10 days. CV operators will also face follow-up inquiries by the DVSA, who can inform the traffic commissioners.
Vehicle load security pilot
DVSA has begun a three-month vehicle load security pilot in the north of England. Usually, inspectors only check loads when faced with signs of risk; for example, if curtains are bulging. But in this pilot, all curtainsided vehicles will be inspected for load security by a DVSA examiner. It is also investigating driver culpability for load security if S-marked prohibitions are appropriate (but is not issuing them during the pilot). Drivers’ cooperation is expected. Because DVSA recognises that pulling the curtains back can be risky, drivers will only be asked to do so when there is no danger to the driver or the examiner. We anticipate an increased number of prohibitions and fixed penalties being issued due to the pilot.
Inclusive transport strategy published
The needs of disabled travellers have been promoted in DfT’s Inclusive Transport Strategy, published on 25 July. In addition, DVSA has reminded coach operators of their responsibilities concerning passengers with disabilities. They should ensure that wheelchair users can use any available wheelchair space, and not require passengers who use wheelchairs to book any further in advance than passengers who do not.
In August, more than 60 fires were recorded on grass verges beside major motorways and A-roads in England. The blazes were started when rubbish thrown from car windows ignited in the heat of the sun. Drivers have been urged by Highways England to stop littering.
Sorting out smart tachos
From 15 June 2019, smart tachographs are to be made mandatory for new vehicles. These ‘smart tachos’ will use a GPS to record the start and end location of the drivers’ work, and record every three hours of driving time. In order for operators to use the new tachographs, they will need to update their analysis and download software.
Also, enforcement officers will be able to use digital devices to check tachos from a distance of up to 190m away.