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FTA COLUMN

HeavyTorque Issue Two: FTA

NEW YEAR, NEW RULES

LIKE MANY OTHER YEARS, 2015 STARTED AS IT MEANS TO GO ON, WITH THE INTRODUCTION OF NEW REGULATIONS THAT WILL AFFECT THE LOGISTICS SECTOR. THE FTA’S SEAMUS LEHENY LOOKS AT SOME OF THE MOST IMMINENT LEGISLATION

As rules are introduced, and changes are made to how the industry operates, it is imperative for all freight operators to ensure that they are up-to-date with new and current legislation. As the recognised ‘Voice of the Industry’, FTA supports the sector in providing the most relevant information and telling operators how it is likely to change the way they work.

DRINK DRIVE LIMITS IN SCOTLAND AND NORTHERN IRELAND

It is staggering to realise that, on average, 20 people die on Scotland’s roads every year in accidents involving drivers over the legal alcohol limit. As a result, and in the hope of changing those statistics, a high-profile public information campaign has been launched aimed at informing all adults of driving age of the change.

Following a unanimous vote in the Scottish Parliament on 18 November, the Road Traffic Act 1988 (Prescribed Limit) (Scotland) Regulations 2014 will come into force from 5 December, 2015.

The order reduces the blood alcohol limit from 80mg in every 100ml of blood to 50mg in every 100ml of blood. Evidence shows that alcohol at this level can
impair driving and vastly increase the chances of being involved in an accident.

In addition, there is currently, in the Northern Ireland Assembly, an amendment to the Road Traffic Bill to decrease the blood alcohol limit from 80mg to 50mg, or 20mg for vocational drivers, which could have major consequences for a professional driver the morning after having a few drinks the previous evening.

HISTORICAL DRIVER HOURS FIXED PENALTIES AND FINANCIAL DEPOSITS

A Department for Transport (DfT) consultation which ended in August 2014, proposed changes to legislation that will allow roadside enforcement officers to take action against professional drivers who have committed ‘historical’ drivers’ hours and HGV Road User Levy offences.

By ‘historical’ offences it is meant offences committed in the past, but detected at a later date during an enforcement check. Whilst the proposal is still subject to further consultation and development, the proposed changes would apply to offences committed up to 28 days prior to the enforcement check. The proposed changes would also implement the use of financial deposits to be used for historical offences, in the same way as they are currently being used for drivers who cannot provide a satisfactory UK address when committing an offence at that time. This process will also include notification of court procedures and fixed penalty notices or conditional offers in Scotland.

The proposal also includes offences under GB domestic drivers’ hours, but, again, this change is still subject to further consultation and development before being implemented.

CHANGES TO MEDICALLY RESTRICTED LICENCES

During 2014, the DVLA published a consultation focusing on changing the law on group 1 (category B) licence holders, which would allow it to issue a medically restricted driving licence for a period of up to 10 years, depending on the case, instead of up to only three years as at present. The decision to extend the period has been agreed by the Minister, with a 10-year period being the absolute maximum – it is thought that the changes could be implemented in the first few months of 2015. Each licensing decision will still be based on the individual’s personal medical circumstances and details and if a one, two, or three-year licence is medically appropriate, it could still be granted.

NEW TACHOGRAPHS

A range of tachographs is to be introduced as part of the upcoming legislation for the next generation of digital tachographs (EU 165/2014). The first phase – Article 24 – refers to the approval of fitters, workshops and vehicle manufacturers. The primary requirement is that they should be competent and reliable. The regulations set out minimum criteria to be met, such as: staff that are properly trained; all necessary equipment is available; are of good repute with regular audits.

Article 34 removes the requirement to carry letters of attestation for periods of time when a driver is away from their vehicle. For example, covering a period of leave. Although this is not used in the UK it is widely used in other member states.

Article 45 amends the following exceptions from EU drivers’ hours in regulation 561/2006: ‘Tools of the trade’ up to 7.5 tonnes MAM within 50km; vehicles used for the carriage of goods within a 50km, propelled by means of natural or liquefied gas or electricity, with MAM does not exceed 7.5 tonnes; vehicles used for the carriage of live animals from farms to local markets and vice versa or from markets to local slaughterhouses – within a radius of up to 50km.

The change is in the radius in which the above vehicles can be operated under these exceptions, and it changed from 50km to 100km from 2 March 2015.

Implementation of the remaining Articles in these regulations will take place up until approximately 2019.

TACHOGRAPHS WITH EXTRA TECH

The physical changes to the next generation digital tachograph will come into force over the next three to four years and will include the use of on-board GPS
system to extract data to identify the vehicle location, this will mean the driver will not have to input the location at start and end of day.

Use of other Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) such as telematics, will allow the connection between the tachograph and other systems for the transfer of relevant data. This means that enforcement agencies could use this wireless technology to allow remote preanalysis so in theory drivers’ hours could be checked without having to initially stop the vehicle and only if an offence is detected would the vehicle then be stopped.

It is worth noting, though, that the final details of these changes are still yet to be confirmed, so it is definitely acase of ‘watch this space’.

For future updates and transport legislation news please visit the FTA website at www.fta.co.uk

HTA Popup

Published in March 2018, this fantastic 220 page, A4 Landscape Yearbook, designed and published by HeavyTorque, reflects the continued growth, and achievements of the Heavy Transport Association (HTA). Printed full-colour throughout, this is a must-read for those with an interest in the heavy and specialist transportation sector – very much recognised as the ‘bible of the industry’.