This guidance is aimed at current and potential operators of longer semi-trailers (LSTs). It helps operators to get the most out of LSTs, and to help ensure they are operated safely.
As a new vehicle type, LSTs are subject to specific regulations. These are explained in more detail in this guidance. The Road Vehicles (Authorisation of Special Types) (General) Order 2003 governs the use of LSTs and should be read alongside this guidance.
Longer semi-trailers (LSTs) are a type of heavy goods vehicle (HGV) for use on UK roads.
They can be up to 15.65 metres in length, which is up to 2.05 metres longer than a current standard semi-trailer (13.6 metres). LSTs are not road-trains which are permitted in some other countries, or the 25.25 metres designs in use in some countries in the EU.
The total weight of an LST (including goods and the tractor unit) must not weigh more than 44 tonnes. This is the existing UK domestic weight limit for HGVs.
LSTs must pass the turning circle test applied to the existing 13.6 metre trailers, for which the LSTs require a steered rear axle.
At full capacity, LSTs can move the same volume of goods using fewer journeys than current trailers. Fewer HGVs on roads means the use of LSTs could lead to:
- reduced overall emissions
- less congestion
- less collision risks
LSTs complement other approaches to reduce emissions, such as modal shift to rail or water. LSTs can be implemented without the need for further significant technological and infrastructure development.
There are no road limits for LSTs. Operators should send LSTs on roads that are suitable for the vehicles to drive on – like all HGVs.
Image description: An image showing the difference in the number of standard UK pallets longer semi-trailers can carry when compared to standard semi-trailers. Per deck, longer semi-trailers can carry 4 more standard UK pallets than standard semi-trailers.
In 2012, the Department for Transport (DfT) ran a national trial of LSTs which involved around 2,700 trailers and around 300 operators. There was representation of diverse types of cargo and operation used throughout the trial.
Extensive data gathering throughout the trial monitored real life elements such as:
- operational patterns
- cargo types
- utilisation efficiency
- safety performance
Other analyses also included:
- road class usage
- emissions savings
- the impact of different designs
The trial carried out route modelling and specialist analysis of the impact of LSTs on vulnerable road user groups.
The trial demonstrated that with appropriate operational management, LSTs can be operated safely and deliver up to a 13% to 14% reduction in real world emissions. This could be an average saving of 8% to 9% across the trial.
Following demonstration of consistent trial safety and emissions performance, DfT has introduced requirements which, when complied with, permit LSTs to be used widely across Great Britain (GB).
From the trial, we found LSTs need more management than standard semi-trailers and should be monitored by a responsible operator. This is to ensure LSTs can be safely integrated into freight operations. This means LSTs are subject to some rules, which are set out in the 2023 amendment to the road vehicles (authorisation of special types) (general) (amendment) Order regulations.
The general objective of these rules is to:
- ensure good safety performance continues
- maintain additional practices that protect other road users
- utilise the advantages of using LSTs
See the regulatory impact assessment for more.
The Road Vehicles (Authorisation of Special Types) (General) (Amendment) Order 2023 (the LST order) and this guidance applies to the use of LSTs in Great Britain. LSTs are defined as a special vehicle type under section 44 of the Road Traffic Act 1988.
LSTs must be longer than standard semi-trailers.
This means the LST order requires the longitudinal distance from the axis of the king pin to the rear of the trailer must be longer than:
- 12.5 metres in the case of an LST that is a car transporter
- 12 metres in any other case
The maximum permitted length of an LST is up to 15.65 metres, which is 2.05 metres longer than the maximum length of a normal semi-trailer.
Vehicle combinations including LSTs are articulated lorries with a maximum combination length of 18.55 metres.
If a semi-trailer can be extended or has an extension function, the semi-trailer can only be operated as an LST when it is fully extended so it exceeds the distances set out above.
The total combination length when operating a LST must not exceed 18.55 metres for any reason. This maximum combination length is applicable in all circumstances.
This means the use of the following aspects will not affect this maximum length applicable to an LST:
- aerodynamic devices
- elongated cabs
- other equipment
A load carried by an LST must not have a rearward projection.
Other length related requirements
The maximum distance measured parallel to the longitudinal axis of any of the semi-trailers from the foremost point of the loading area to the rear of the semi-trailer must not exceed 15.65 metres.
The longitudinal distance from the axis of the king pin to the rear of any of the semi-trailers must not exceed 14.05 metres.
The technical requirements of the trial included a requirement that no point in the semi-trailer forward of the transverse plane passing through the axis of the king pin shall be more than 2.04 metres from the axis of the king pin. This limit, applying to ‘swing radius’, is not included in the LST order and does not apply outside of the trial.
Steering arrangements and electronic systems have to meet certain international technical provisions.
All LSTs must have a minimum of 3 axles, one of which must be capable of steering.
If the maximum authorised weight of a vehicle-combination which includes an LST exceeds 38 tonnes, the LST must be equipped with an on-board weighing device.
The maximum weight limits for LSTs do not differ from those for standard semi-trailers.
Using LSTs appropriately
Operators and society will only benefit from the introduction of LSTs if they can be operated safely and efficiently – by utilising the additional space.
The LST order is intended to permit widespread use of LSTs, while also emphasising that they need some additional management compared to other trailers.
Operators are expected to consider whether their use is appropriate, including:
if the expected fill levels use the additional space and reduce journey count
if the types of routes involved compatible with the safe operation of LSTs
if the operator fulfil the requirements for route planning and risk assessment
monitoring, training, and record keeping is done adequately and consistently
Clients that purchase haulage should be aware of the factors involved in operating LSTs efficiently and safely, as they are not covered by regulation.
You will need to consider other factors before using LSTs, which was set out by operators during the LST trial.
These factors include:
- business decisions and return on investment
- training and awareness – drivers or other roles
- operational processes – routing, depot assessment, warehousing and supply chain
- equipment and maintenance
- depot infrastructure
- specifying LSTs and design choices
If you use an LST, it must meet the requirements of the LST order. If the LST does not meet those requirements, it may be a breach of the Road Traffic Act 1988.
For more information, see the The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) policy about sanctions applicable to these breaches. It includes financial penalties for operators and drivers.
DVSA can refer operators to a Traffic Commissioner. Commissioners may consider taking regulatory action against an operator’s licence or HGV driving entitlement.
New LST operators
Evidence from the LST trial
Our conclusion from the trial was that LSTs could be operated without a limit on numbers but with some additional conditions set out in the LST order.
In particular, the trial concluded proper planning and risk assessment of routes used by LSTs was a main contributor to the safe operation of the trailers.
The purpose is to ensure LSTs are only used on routes where their characteristics can be accommodated without increasing the risk of collisions or placing unreasonable demands on the driver.
New LST order
Operators who wish to operate LSTs in line with the new regulations need to take a number of actions before doing so. Fulfilling these conditions is a legal requirement and they are set out in this section.
Operators who have taken part in the LST trial are subject to different requirements, until the conclusion of the trial. They are set out in the Transitioning from the LST trial section.
Before an LST is first used on a road by an operator, the operator must notify the Secretary of State for Transport.
This notification must:
- be made by electronic communication (for example, by email)
- specify the name and address of the operator,
- specify the number of that licence if the operator holds an operator’s licence in respect of the LST
If an operator’s licence is held, notification must take place through the existing Vehicle operator Licencing (VOL) system.
If an operator of an LST does not have an operator licence, the DVSA can be notified by email: email@example.com.
If an LST has been in an operator’s lawful possession for less than 1 month, you are not required to make this notification. This should cover the majority of non-standard uses such as unladen LST movements in connection with:
- transfers of ownership or operator
- manufacturing and sales
- some specific maintenance and testing purposes
The main reason for operators notifying their intention to use LSTs prior to their first use on a road is to ensure road safety is maintained. It also helps to inform future reviews.
The requirement of notifying an intention of LST use will cease after 5 years (1 June 2028) from the date of the LST Order came into effect (31 May 2023). See Article 62(4) Special Type General Order (STGO), as inserted by Article 4 of the LST order for more.
LSTs are required to comply with all other regulations which apply to standard semi-trailer use. This includes plating and testing requirements.
In particular, LSTs must meet the relevant requirements set out in the following legislation:
- the road vehicles (construction and use) regulations 1986, apart from regulation 7 (length) and regulation 13A(4) and 13B(6) (provisions relating to turning circles)
- the road vehicles (authorised weight) regulations 1998
- the road vehicles lighting regulations 1989
Within the construction and use regulations, turning circle requirements for semi-trailers can be demonstrated either by:
- carrying out a physical test or equivalent method that the actual requirements are met
- a calculation utilising only the effective wheelbase between the king pin and the centre point of the trailer’s fixed axles
A calculation that utilises the wheelbase between the king pin and centre point of the fixed axles does not take account of how the steering axles may influence the path the trailer follows. Extra reliance on operation of steering axles for LSTs to comply with turning circle requirements means this basic calculation method cannot be relied on.
LSTs authorised for use in GB cannot be used in Northern Ireland unless they have been authorised in advance by the Department for Infrastructure in Northern Ireland.
Operators who wish to operate LSTs in Northern Ireland can contact the Department for Infrastructure: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Route planning and risk assessment
Scope of route planning, risk assessment and compliance checks
DfT does not prescribe a universal format for route plans and risk assessments. The LST order does not prescribe a specific format, but states risk assessments should make a suitable and sufficient assessment of specified factors.
The language of suitability and sufficiency is consistent with Health and Safety legislation. This guidance provides general principles based on insights from operators on the trial.
Operators will need to be able to demonstrate a route planning, risk assessment, and feedback process proportionate to the scale of the operation and number of drivers and routes involved. They will also need to provide the variety – road types, locations – and complexity of the routes being used.
You are legally required to keep copies of route plans and risk assessments for a route for 2 years, starting with the date the LST was last used on that route. You should retain these copies so DVSA or a Traffic Commissioner can review them, if needed.
Operators may also wish, as a matter of good practice, to retain evidence of the following:
- their process for route planning and risk assessment
- evidence that drivers have been informed about these processes
- any driver route feedback – and any actions taken as a result
The LST order requires that a copy of the route plan and risk assessment must be carried in the motor vehicle that tows the LST on that established, specific route.
Requirements for route planning and risk assessment for these established routes in the LST order are different from the regulations of combinations of standard articulated lorries (including those with trailers with a height in excess of 4 metres) and rigid lorry-trailer combinations of a similar length.
However, LSTs are as suitable for use on British roads as these other goods vehicle combinations are – subject to these requirements being satisfied.
Route planning and risk assessments
The purpose of route plans and risk assessments are to ensure LSTs are:
- only used on appropriate routes (risk assessed and planned by the operator)
- driven safely on appropriate routes
These assessments also help reduce risks through prior assessments and feedback.
These routes are referred to by the LST order as ‘established routes’. An established route is defined as a route which is specified on a legally compliant route plan, and for which a legally compliant risk assessment has been completed.
Motorways and other modern strategic roads are designed for large volumes of traffic and large vehicles. Main and tight junctions, including those associated with the entrances and exits of motorways and other grade separated dual carriageways, are liable to need specific consideration.
Lesser roads can be used but there needs to be careful risk assessment, including related to road geometry and other road users (including pedestrians and cyclists).
To comply with the LST order, a route plan must be in writing (digitally or on paper) and specify the road or roads on which the LST is to be used.
Each new route to or from a destination needs its own plan. Core elements for a route plan should give the driver:
the routing information (for example, turn-by-turn instructions, a map or pre-loaded sat nav)
highlighted hazards on the route, and advice on managing the risk (for example, how to approach a particular turn, a location where advice may be to occupy 2 lanes, locations where parked cars are an issue, depots with access issues)
the option to give feedback on the suitability of the route for LSTs and any additional hazards encountered that may need adding to the risk assessment
It may be that multiple route options are assessed and approved for a single destination, with final route choice being made depending on traffic conditions.
A risk assessment must be in writing (digitally or on paper). It must make a:
suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks of personal injury and injury to any animal
note of damage to any vehicle or other property when using the LST on the route specified on the route plan
conclusion in the light of those risks that the route is one on which it would be reasonably safe to use an LST
A risk assessment is suitable and sufficient if it considers all relevant risk factors. This must include (as a minimum) the following:
the width and curvature of the part of the road on which the LST is to be used on the route
the amount of space that is available at any road junction at which the LST is likely to turn as part of the route
the likelihood that the presence of other vehicles, pedestrians, horse riders and cyclists on the route will cause difficulties in manoeuvring the LST
Meeting the route plans and risk assessment requirements
Route plans and risk assessments must be written (digitally or on paper) and completed before a journey of an LST starts. This may not always need to be after a vehicle leaves a depot at the start of the day.
In certain circumstances (such as general haulage where routes are confirmed at short notice), a more dynamic approach is expected. This could include a plan for activities and risk assessments conducted by office-based staff during the day, before sharing with a driver through a text message, email or a phone call.
Both paper and digital documents can be used in the same documentation process. This provision means companies can use tools from pens to tablets to complete the documents and meet requirements. This provides flexibility for administrative processes in many ways.
See the below examples for more information.
Scenario A: paper copies
Many operations now use in-cab technology, including tablets or displays linked to the vehicle navigation system. We know companies are planning to embed the required documentation and routing requirements into those systems. However, we do understand that a significant part of the industry does not use this type of technology.
Alternatively, the paper copies can be captured digitally (such as through pictures or scanning). This enables digital copies to be shared with the driver (by email or text), to ensure both the driver and operator hold copies of the information.
Scenario B: mix of digital and paper copies
If a company uses digital documentation (or a mix of paper and digital), risk plans and route assessments may be completed by the operator and shared with the driver, through text or email.
The operator can inform the driver of the route plan details and associated risks, audibly (such as, over the phone).
Requirements for route planning and risk assessment can be met through many different methods and formats. See the example templates for:
These templates outline expectations and may be used by operators. However, using these templates is not mandatory and are not intended to suit every type of LST operation or journey.
The operator needs to be able to safely use both ‘established routes’ and ‘diversionary routes’. There will be occasions on which an established route becomes unavailable, for example in the case of an accident closing part of the route. In this instance, an operator will need either to use a diversionary route, or to utilise standard trailers to move the load.
A diversionary route includes roads or parts of roads that are not on an established route. The route must be one that enables the LST to reach or return to an established route as soon as reasonably practicable. This diversion must be reasonably considered by the operator to be safe for that purpose.
Diversionary routes may be used when:
- the use of an LST on the whole or any part of an established route is prohibited (scenario A)
- where an operator considers the use of an LST is likely to be subject to unreasonable traffic delays because of an accident or other obstruction on an established route (scenario B)
Diversionary routes are expected to be used in scenario (b) above.
When scenario (a) applies, the diversionary route may be used for a period of 7 days beginning with the day on which the prohibition on the use of the LST came into force, unless the prohibition is revoked or expires before the end of that period.
However, there may be cases where a problem on a route is apparent before the LST begins its journey. In this a case, an operator should use an alternative established route if it is practical to do so.
Alternatively, if it is practical to specify the diversionary route on a route plan, and to complete a risk assessment for it, you should do this. If neither of these options are practical, you can use a diversionary route.
Route compliance monitoring
LST operators should be able to demonstrate they have a process to check all journeys that can be undertaken through risk assessed routes. There should be a process in place that requires drivers to follow only risk assessed routes.
Compliance checking needs to be fit-for-purpose for the scale and complexity of the operation. It also must inform relevant managers about levels of route compliance.
If drivers are found not to be complying with the planned route, there should also be a process for and evidence of corrective action.
Route planning, risk assessment and compliance record keeping
An LST operator should be able to show DVSA or a Traffic Commissioner (on request) their:
- process for route planning and compliance
- actual routes taken
- risk assessments
- compliance records
Copies of route plans and risk assessments must be retained for 2 years.
An LST operator will be expected to demonstrate the process can lead to corrective action if required. This means there should be a process for:
- monitoring compliance internally
- reporting compliance to a suitably responsible manager
- taking any required actions to resolve compliance issues (proportionate to the size of the operation)
Illustrative simple vs. complex scenarios for route planning, risk assessment, and compliance
Simple scenario: a very small operator operating a single LST design, on a single route at a fixed time of day, with 2 drivers involved.
Complex scenario: a national operator with 100 LSTs, of 2 designs, as part of a fleet of 1,000 trailers, with 800 drivers, each operating diverse routes each day.
Route plan and risk assessment
Simple scenario: plan and risk assessment in office with a single sheet of paper for the driver, with a map or turn by turn instructions and a reminder about key hazards.
Complex scenario: route planning integrated into work management systems, with a library of pre-assessed route segment plans and risk assessments, with a process to produce route instructions for drivers on paper or loaded into sat navs, with hazard notes, where drivers are only assigned to routes hours before departure.
LST design variants
Simple scenario: not available – single LST design.
Complex scenario: risk assessment process allows for different outcomes, or even different routes, for 14.6 metre self-steer versus 15.65 metre single command steer LSTs.
Simple scenario: discussion with drivers of route suitability for LSTs and any hazards encountered – then added to risk assessment.
Complex scenario: Formal process for drivers to feed back on route suitability for LSTs and any hazards encountered – then added to risk assessment.
Simple scenario: planned diversions discovered by drivers seeing roadside announcements – leading to alternative route-planning and risk assessment.
Complex scenario: planned diversions may be noted by drivers, but operator also monitors National Highways 7-day and on-the-day closure plan data feed (and any information from local authorities). Formal process for triggering route re-planning and risk assessment.
Simple scenario: driver finds safe stopping location and calls in to assess best course of action, including option of returning to base.
Complex scenario: driver finds safe stopping location and calls fleet management to assess best course of action, resulting in either a live alternative route risk assessment or return to base.
Route compliance monitoring
Simple scenario: discussion of route being used with drivers. Sat nav track checks if available.
Complex scenario: either sample checking of route tracks from sat nav data or integrated functions for planned vs. actual route data in telematics system.
LST driver training and management
Evidence from the LST trial
Other than route planning and risk assessment, the selection and training of drivers to use LSTs was suggested by operators on the trial as the most important management action taken to ensure safe operation of the trailers.
While drivers and operators said the trailers operated ‘normally’ in general driving (for example, stability and braking), this was always with a caveat that some additional care and skill was needed when making manoeuvres involving turning or tighter spaces. This is due to the additional length and the steering axle.
Operators also noted the importance of familiarity of drivers with specific LST designs, and the effect on their skills of the frequency with which they used the trailers.
Driver training requirements
Specific driver training is not a requirement under the LST order. However, operators should ensure drivers are appropriately trained in the use of LSTs as part of their general duty to ensure the safety of operations and staff.
LST operators should ensure a driver undertakes specific training, relevant to the particular type of LST driven, before a driver uses an LST. Written advice notes will not adequately replace training.
Training should be a minimum of half a day, but this can be made up of a mixture of classroom or computer-based instruction and on-the road instruction and supervision.
Any classroom or computer-based instruction should be delivered by an organisation accredited to provide Driver Certification of Professional Competence (DCPC) training, although the instruction involved need not be accredited for DCPC. Practical training may also be provided by the operator or other organisations.
If a driver transfers employer or is provided by an agency, the new operator should verify relevant LST training has taken place or ensure it is provided.
Operators on the trial noted the following as important considerations in designing fit-for-purpose LST training:
appropriate loading, overall and individual axle limits
steering axle behaviour, including changes in suggested cornering ‘line’ due to reduced cut-in but additional tail-swing
any differences in tail movements versus standard trailers – many include an on road ‘following behind’ exercise, to observe the tail movement in sharp turns
Training should be proportionate and reflect the nature of the individual routes likely to be used. The training also should give drivers:
- familiarity with their routes
- the frequency with which they use LST
- information on moving between standard trailers and LSTs in a single shift – if needed
Both infrequent use of LSTs and in-shift switching from standard trailer to LST were identified as driving some increase in small incidents for one operator on the trial.
The driver’s training should be specific to the LST designs they will use:
LST lengths can be different lengths in excess of 13.6 metres up to 15.65 metres, each with different characteristics
self-steer (passive), command (forced – connected to fifth wheel), or active steer (computer controlled) designs have significantly different characteristics
for larger operators, it is beneficial to have an LST training and good practice guide document to ensure consistency in training
refresher training should be considered, especially if drivers use LSTs infrequently
some companies may decide to set a driver experience threshold for using LSTs
Driver awareness of the LST order
The LST order has been designed to allow the widest possible use of LSTs, while reinforcing that they are different from standard trailers. Drivers need to be aware that LSTs are different and how this affects them and their employer.
Drivers are legally required to be provided with copies of the route plan and risk assessment for any journey they are undertaking using an LST. These are legally required to be carried in the vehicle. This can be in an electronic format.
For any trip involving an LST, drivers should be trained to expect:
to be given a planned route and risk assessment
to be able to provide route feedback, including additional potential hazards to be added to the assessment
to follow the planned route and that this may be monitored
Drivers should be aware of the importance of clear incident reporting.
Drivers should be aware of the role of the DVSA in monitoring LST regulatory compliance by operators in relation to all the areas covered by this guidance.
Driver training effectiveness and the effect of shift patterns
The effectiveness of LST driver training can vary, depending on the work patterns imposed on drivers by the nature of the operators’ business.
Two work patterns were identified as challenging for drivers, and an analysis by one major operator suggested these patterns led to increases in accidents:
very infrequent use of LSTs in a shift pattern dominated by use of standard trailers led to skills fade, especially if LST use falls to less than once in 2 weeks
switching between LSTs and other trailers within a single shift, perhaps several times, increased the demand on drivers to adjust their driving approach
Fit-for-purpose management of LSTs may extend beyond individual route planning and driver training. It can also include risks arising from wider driver management and considerations of these issues in work planning.
Driver training record keeping
As a guide, LST operators should be able to show the traffic commissioner or other authority (on request) both their process for driver training and evidence of its use.
An operator should reasonably be able to show:
evidence of training plans and any materials used
evidence of each driver’s LST training record and how it links to work assignment
evidence that LSTs are only being operated by drivers with the relevant training
evidence that, if multiple LST designs are in use, the training and records consider the design differences in both the risk assessment and training
Wider staff awareness and training
Evidence from the LST trial
Trial operators also highlighted the importance of other staff in ensuring efficient and safe operation of LSTs. This includes:
driver managers and planners who could influence the operation of LSTs in real time
those involved in commercial negotiations that might presume use of LSTs in a deal
teams involved in site selection and design, who need to understand the spatial requirements for these trailers
The likely need to consider relevant LST awareness and training for staff other than drivers is noted in the findings of the trial.
As a guide, operators should consider some or all of the following example.
Transport managers, other fleet and driver managers
These managers should consider their awareness of:
the authorisation requirements relating to LSTs explained in this guidance
differences between LSTs and standard trailers, including the characteristics of different LST designs if the fleet has more than one
risk of skills fade if drivers only operate LSTs occasionally
challenge of switching between standard trailers and LSTs in a single shift
Transport managers and planners (routes and work)
These managers should consider their awareness of:
authorisation requirements relating to LSTs
challenges for a driver if asked to perform an unfamiliar route, with an unfamiliar trailer design, depending on the complexity (risk level) of that route
company procedures for planned or emergency diversionary routes
These managers should consider their awareness of any special conditions, in particular individual axle loading.
Warehouse managers, planners and logistics software providers
These managers should consider their awareness of the demands of mix load sizes (26 versus 30 pallets) and any restrictions on which bays can be used by LSTs.
Maintenance teams and providers awareness
These managers should consider their awareness of manufacturers’ requirements and procedures for each design of steered axle present in the fleet.
These managers should consider their awareness of the regulations relating to LSTs and especially record keeping requirements.
Senior managers and commercial teams
These managers should consider their awareness of the special nature of and regulations for LSTs in business planning and contract negotiation.
Site and facilities managers
These managers should consider their awareness of the spatial needs of LSTs, especially in turning and reversing (which differs depending on the steering type), and the impact of LSTs on other vehicles, site traffic flow and parking.
These managers should consider their awareness – as for site managers – when purchasing or planning redevelopment of sites.
Transitioning from the LST trial
This section applies to operators that have participated in the GB LST trial.
This means operators that already have LSTs operating under a Vehicle Special Order (VSO) when the Road Vehicles (Authorisation of Special Types) (Amendment) Order 2023 came into force – 31 May 2023.
Operators that do not hold a live LST VSO from 31 May 2023 are not expected to join the trial, which will end on 29 February 2024. You should notify the Secretary of State of your intent to use LSTs, as set out in New LST operators section.
Operators that participated in the LST trial can transition their existing LSTs to the new regime through the transition period that started on 31 May 2023 and ends on 29 February 2024.
You will be given the revised end date of the VSOs that are applicable to your vehicles. After this date, unless and until you notify the Secretary of State of your intent to use LSTs under the new regulation, you will not be able to legally operate LSTs.
During the transition period:
existing trailers remain on the trial until their VSO has expired or is revoked (at the end of the trial or once they have notified the Secretary of State about their intent to use LSTs under the new regulation). These trailers will need to comply with the requirements of the trial and operators will need to submit any data requested risk aolutions (a contracted supplier for administrative work regarding LSTs)
operators that hold a live VSO as of 31 May 2023 may remove some LSTs from their fleet and retain others on the trial. You can not add new LSTs to your trial fleet. New trailers operated under the LST order must be notified to the Secretary of State, even if the operator still has other LSTs operating under the trial conditions
All other conditions (for example, route planning or risk assessment) must have systems used under the trial that already meet or are adjusted to meet special conditions for the general use of LSTs from 31 May 2023. Our recommendations for driver training also apply.
Trial data reporting requirements apply up to the date the trailers move to the new regime. Any final data submissions should be made soon after the move.
Operators are required to keep copies of route plans and risk assessments for a 2-year period from the date the route is undertaken.
Transition period end
All LST operations under trial conditions will cease at the end of the transition period, at which time:
any remaining live VSOs will be revoked, and any associated trailers will not be able to operate on the road until their operators have notified the Secretary of State of their intention to use the particular LSTs on a road
all trial data reporting requirements will end
LST trial data
Any retention of LST trial data and contact records will be conducted in line with guidance for operators joining the trial.
You can create an anonymised version of the numerical data – with all company information redacted and data aggregated – as a source for later reference by DfT use in analysis of LST performance.
Further information for operators
In response to queries from operators and representative industry groups, we have provided additional information on how the new regulations apply to day to day operations.
Using sat navs
You can use a sat nav. You should check that the route suggested by the sat nav matches the planned route.
Diverse route networks or workflows
Processes that meet LST requirements will differ across operations. This means there is no prescription in the LST order about what documents should look like, and what their exact format should be.
We recognise some meeting the route planning and risk assessment requirements will be more challenging for some types of operation, especially when:
- the number of pick-up/delivery points is large compared to the organisation,
- jobs are managed at short notice, either due to customer service demands
- organisations need to fill empty back haul legs with loads from brokerages
Considering these challenges, the LST regulations provide flexibility in both how information can be recorded and how it can be communicated. This section along meeting the route plans and risk assessment requirements, provides examples on how regulations can be integrated into existing business processes.
LST driver training
We recommend operators implement LST driver training within their organisations, even though there is no legal requirement to do so.
This is because DfT expects all drivers to have appropriate training on the specific type of vehicle they drive, LSTs included (for example, steering type).
Training should have awareness of the LST order, including:
- driver feedback
- unplanned road closure procedures
Route plans, risk assessments and motorways
All route plans must include all the roads LSTs operate on. This includes motorways and motorway junctions.
Risk assessments that relate to motorways can assume no risks will be present. This is because there are no issues that will cause difficulties in manoeuvring LSTs, such as:
- width issues
- curvature or turns at junctions
- risks related to other vehicles or road users
You can cite a generic risk assessment that covers LST operations on motorways from the point of motorway entry, to motorway exit in most cases.
You should also consider the impact of any road works on the motorway elements of the routes too.
Route plans and risk assessments: what they look like
There is no defined format of what a route plan looks like.
Route plans must be in writing and specify the road or roads the LST uses.
As large parts of a route may be on a motorway, a route plan need only needs to cover the start and end ‘tails’ either side of a long motorway section. This route information needs to be sufficient to enable the driver to follow the assessed route.
For example, the route plan can display like the example below.
Example route plan
Wellend road to Spring Road to B6444 to St Andrews Way to A167 to A1(M) Junction 59
Motorway route to M422 Junction 6
A45 to Airport Way to B4438 to Starley Way
These route plans can be sent by email or as a text message. This can include alternative routes within a plan.
You can also provide multiple route options, if all these options are deemed as acceptable in terms of risk.
There is no defined format of what a risk assessment looks like.
All risk assessments needs to consider 3 main risk areas, including:
LST passage: width and curvature of the roads, especially taking into account the additional tail-swing of the LSTs
junction space: risk associated with the swept path of the LST at junctions, in particular where when the trailer may encroach on other traffic lanes more than expected (by other road users) for a standard semi-trailer
other road users: the likelihood of other vehicles, pedestrians, horse riders or cyclists presenting difficulties to manoeuvring LSTs
See the LST Order for more information.
Each risk assessment must identify risks or challenges on the route and whether if it is safe for an LST. You, as an operator, must decide if an LST can safely be used on a route or not.
Completing route plans and risk assessments
As with all HGVs, a decision must be made on whether the vehicle being sent is suitable for the load and the route required. The only difference with LSTs is that this decision (and reason for the decision) needs to be recorded in writing by the responsible employee (for example the transport manager or someone on behalf of the transport manager).
All route plans and risk assessments must be completed before a trip starts. These plans and assessments must be completed by a responsible person within the organisation – for example, a transport manager. They may be completed well in advance, at short notice or anytime in-between.
Verbally communicating route plans and risk assessments
We have heard some operators say that communicating routes to drivers only using paper or digital documents is not viable, and would require burdensome changes to existing processes.
It is possible to communicate route plans and risks verbally and as long as the written copies (paper or digital) are present in the driver’s cab, available for inspection.
Example verbal communication process
the route planner creates the route plan and risk assessment using their company’s process in the office
after getting used to the process over the course of sheet for a week, the planners have the steps memorised and are able to do this in a few minutes using desktop tools they already access to look at pickup locations
the route planner can then create an email or text containing the route plan and risk assessment on the computer or phone
the planner calls the driver by phone, explaining the job, route plan and any risk issues (such as a challenging junction spotted in the risk assessment). On this call, the driver has opportunity to accept or query the route plan
the planner emails or texts the route plan in a simplified form to the driver’s phone. The driver can then proceed, because the driver has received written correspondence in line with what was communicated verbally over the phone
the written copy (for example, text or email) is available on the phone if the driver requires it to remind themselves of instructions or if requested by a roadside authority
If you choose to verbally communicate route plans and risk assessments to your drivers in addition to providing written copies, the LST driver must be able to recall any risk notes set out in the verbal communication.
You will need to consider if the route plan has complex risk issues and request the driver reviews written copies of the route plan and risk assessment.
You, as an operator, will be liable for any issues that arise if a driver does not understand the route plan or risk assessment in its entirety.
Route selection and LST drivers
LST drivers can be involved in route selection at the time a new job is assigned. These discussions about routes can include current traffic conditions and accessibility.