Increased powers to crack down on dangerous trucks and coaches were set out today (29 June 2010) by Transport Secretary, Philip Hammond.
The proposals would give the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) more flexibility in tackling vehicles they suspect of being overloaded or breaking operating or driving hours rules.
The new powers would also help VOSA to enforce new cabotage rules, which govern the amount of UK domestic work hauliers from outside the UK can undertake.
Today’s (29 June 2010) consultation also outlines plans to give VOSA officers in Scotland the power to independently stop commercial vehicles for the first time. Currently, all VOSA enforcement in Scotland is assisted by the police.
Philip Hammond said:
If our roads are to remain among the safest in the world we need to make sure that the drivers and vehicles on our roads are fit to be there. VOSA’s work is vital in keeping dangerous vehicles and drivers off the road.
The measures I am announcing today will make sure that rogue operators have nowhere to hide by ensuring that VOSA inspectors across Great Britain have all the powers they need to stop vehicles that may pose a threat to road safety.
These plans will also help VOSA to enforce the rules governing the amount of domestic work hauliers from outside the UK can undertake, helping to make sure that UK operators do not face unfair competition for business.
The new powers will also free up police time as VOSA will be able to operate more independently.
Currently, VOSA inspectors can only independently stop drivers if they suspect there is a fault with the vehicle - although they can and do then check for other offences. These new plans would extend VOSA’s powers and allow their inspectors - without the need for police assistance - to pull drivers over to check that they are complying with rules on maximum weight limits, driving hours, operator licensing and cabotage.
The planned changes will also include new measures to allow the VOSA Chief Executive to authorise inspectors to stop vehicles rather than needing to get accreditation from individual police forces. This is a significant streamlining of bureaucratic process and will free up VOSA time and resource to concentrate on front-line enforcement.
The consultation will close on 13 August 2010.
Notes to editors
In 2009 to 2010 VOSA carried out roadworthiness checks on 173,951 heavy goods vehicles including 99,507 vehicles from outside the UK.
12,232 roadworthiness checks were carried out on buses and coaches.