No Change to Licensing Rules for Van Drivers
The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) was recently assigned the task of tracking down those businesses that are using light commercial vehicles without adhering to existing regulations. Though there are many offenders and the problem is of increasing concern, the agency has announced that, despite talk to the contrary, it will not be enhancing or changing the licensing regime for LCVs. There had been discussion of adding rules similar to those that are currently in use by HGV fleets. According to Paul Walker, trade and industry engagement manager at DVSA, “There is no appetite from Government to bring in any fresh legislation; it is trying to make it work within the existing framework.”
Rather than introducing new rules, the organization is electing to instead concentrate on roadside inspections and enforcing existing laws. The aim is to target such important issues as roadworthiness and towing infringements and to look out for overloaded vans. Fines of up to £200 will be assessed to drivers.
According to another DVSA manager, Ian Walker, the initial results of these new inspections has been a surprise. “After initially embarking on a trial, our findings were quite shocking. We’re only looking for the minimum levels of roadworthiness. However, there are a lot of people that don’t make the minimum standard and that’s what we’re there to deal with, while leaving those who are compliant to carry on with their business. We’ve just got to focus on the really poor operators and there is a hell of a lot of them.”
The DVSA has issued an effectiveness report that indicated that the top compliance issues found in LCVs this year have been windscreen and wipers, tyres, engine and exhaust, road wheels and hubs, and transmission. They estimate that 85% of defects should have been detected by the driver either before getting into the vehicle or while driving.