Monday, August 16, 2010

Freight Transport Association Back Consolidation of Truck Stop Rules For UK Hauliers

Truckers in Scotland and N. Ireland to be Subject to UK Regulations
Shipping News Feature

UK – After our report in May that the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) were to take the problem of illegal foreign freight trucks on English roads, now the Scottish authorities are to extend Scotland the stopping powers of enforcement officers that currently exist in England, Wales and, via the Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA), into Northern Ireland. All VOSA powers, hitherto limited North of the Border, will now match those in the other UK countries.

The Police Reform Act 2002 (PRA) gave VOSA officers in England and Wales the power to stop vehicles for the purpose of vehicle roadworthiness checks without the need to involve the police. The PRA did not extend to Scotland nor enforcement officers of the Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA) in Northern Ireland so there has been a disparity in the nature of enforcement processes across the country.

In England and Wales the power was considered a trial and as such the accreditation of each VOSA officer to be granted powers to stop had to be conferred upon them by the Chief Officers of Police in each constabulary in which he or she would operate. Now such powers will be extended to all officials operating on UK roads.

The proposals will remove the cumbersome administrative process and will streamline the accreditation of VOSA officers say the Freight Transport Association (FTA) who have given the plans their unequivocal support, but warn against the dangers posed by bogus officials who have used the familiar green jackets as an excuse to stop and hijack freight vehicles, often with assaults upon innocent drivers.

James Firth, FTA’s Head of Road Freight and Enforcement Policy, said:

“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.

“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.”

Pic: Truck stops in the UK are rarely so dramatic.