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Majority unaware of smart motorways refuge areas – research
May 23, 2017
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More than half of motorists are not familiar with emergency refuge areas on smart motorways, according to new research.
A study conducted for the RAC with more than 2,000 motorists found that 52% of those surveyed did not know what an emergency refuge area on a smart motorway was – something the RAC calls “a disturbing finding” as they are intended to be a safe haven for broken-down or accident-stricken vehicles to stop in in the absence of a hard shoulder.
In addition, there was also considerable confusion about how to use emergency refuge areas, with two-thirds neither knowing what to do after stopping (64%) nor how to re-join the motorway (65%). And, even of the 1.5% who had actually used an emergency refuge area, only one respondent knew that they should contact Highways England to facilitate their getting back on to the motorway if the hard shoulder was operating as a running lane for traffic. Everyone else thought they should just wait for a gap in the traffic and then accelerate as quickly as possible to motorway speed.
The report says, though that there was good awareness of when it is appropriate to stop in an emergency refuge area. Almost every motorist (98%) said they should be used in a breakdown situation and 90% stated they should be used after an accident, but four in 10 (40%) also thought it was appropriate to use an emergency refuge area for medical reasons such as needing to take medication. 27% thought they could be used for either the driver or a passenger to be sick.
On a positive note, says the report, there was a good understanding that emergency refuge areas are not there for rest breaks, toilet stops, to make or take phone calls or for changing a baby’s nappy with only 1% of respondents saying they thought those were legitimate reasons to stop.
Highways England has run a radio advertising campaign reminding people of the correct use of emergency refuge areas and is currently conducting a review of ERAs, the findings of which will be reported in due course. The RAC says it has been also working closely with Highways England and is backing work to improve the motoring public’s understanding of ERAs and how to use them. It also took part in an industry-wide Highways England workshop testing emergency refuge areas at the Fire Service Training College at Moreton-in-Marsh in Gloucestershire where it was found that all types of vehicles could be recovered safely from them.
RAC chief engineer David Bizley said, “Even though the first smart motorway was created more than 10 years ago and more schemes have come into operation in the last few years there will still be many people who have not driven on one purely as a result of where they live and drive. Existing signage for emergency refuge areas is clear but will be further improved to make it even better for everyone.
“It is essential that motorists understand how and when to use an emergency refuge area so they do not put their own safety and that of other road users at risk. Vehicles should pull up to the indicated mark on the tarmac or the emergency telephone and then the occupants should leave the vehicle from the passenger side. Everyone should stand behind the barriers and should use the emergency roadside telephone provided to speak to a Highways England representative.
“For anyone who hasn’t driven on a smart motorway there are some very noticeable differences, the main ones being that there is no permanent hard shoulder, overhead gantries with variable mandatory speed limits, emergency refuge areas spaced up to 2.5km apart and variable message signs. Driving is just the same as normal but motorists need to be very aware of the speed limit applicable at the time as well as watching out for red ‘Xs’ which indicate that a lane has been closed and it is an offence to drive in it.”
Three billion pounds is being invested in upgrading existing motorways to become smart motorways by 2020 and have already added more than 472 extra lane miles of capacity to the strategic road network through their implementation.
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The Government has issued a response to the Transport Select Committee’s concerns about all lane running on motorways voiced in a report earlier in the year.
In it, reservations about the spacing of emergency refuge areas, roadworker safety and driver education are addressed, with the Government promising to act on recommendations of a review into refuge areas, and promises to enact legislation allowing technology to be used to enforce the red X compliance.
The full response is below:
The Government welcomes the opportunity to respond to the Transport Select Committee’s (TSC) Fifth Report of Session 2016–17 on all lane running (ALR).
Notwithstanding the growing evidence that ALR is providing much-needed additional capacity quickly and efficiently on our roads while maintaining or improving safety, the Government is mindful of the concerns highlighted by the TSC. Effective communication with drivers and full engagement with stakeholders are vital to address these concerns, as is the continual review of the ALR design to learn lessons and make further improvements. The Government is determined that the reviews into Emergency Refuge Areas (ERAs) should be completed swiftly and that action on the recommendations will be taken. To be clear, that means both changing the design of new schemes and retrofitting existing ones, where necessary. The Government assures the TSC that continuing with delivery of current ALR schemes must not prevent any of that from happening.
The Government and Highways England would also like to work with the TSC during the reviews and will be in contact with the Chair to offer a meeting early in the New Year. We want this to be part of a step change in the way Government and Highways England communicate and engage, in response to the TSC’s reports.
In the following paragraphs, the TSC’s comments and recommendations appear in bold text below, preceding the Government’s responses which are in plain text.
We are disappointed that the Government chose to approve the use of all lane running on the M4 before we had the chance toconsider its response to our Report. (Paragraph 4)
Response: The statutory process for the Development Consent Order (DCO), as set out in the Planning Act 2008, required that the DCO decision on the M4 smart motorway scheme be made and issued no later than 3 September 2016. This statutory deadline follows the submission of the DCO application in March 2015 and the Planning Inspectorate’s preliminary meeting on 3 September 2015, which was the start date for the statutory timescales. This meant that the Secretary of State was required to issue his decision by the 3 September 2016. The decision to approve the application on the 2 September 2016 was made after the TSC’s 2nd Report which was published on 30 June 2016, and was in line with the recommendation from the Planning Inspectorate’s independent Examining Authority.
The Minister Paul Maynard, wrote to TSC Chair Louise Ellman MP, on the day the decision was published to explain why the Secretary of State had proceeded with the decision rather than wait for the TSC to consider the Government’s response.
The Government and Highways England are committed to further improve the performance of ALR and as stated in our response Highways England will undertake its review of ERA spacing, signing and size. The outcome of this work will be considered as part of the development of the M4 Junctions 3–12 ALR scheme, as well as other ALR schemes.
We accept that there is a growing evidence base for all lane running but we remain concerned that the concerns of the emergency services, road workers and recovery operators are not being taken in to account as fully as they might be. (Paragraph 5)
Response: Highways England is committed to working with key stakeholders to ensure their needs are considered as part of the smart motorways design. The safety of those using and working on the road network is Highways England’s top priority. For example, Highways England is collaborating with the Institute of Vehicle Recovery (IVR) to deliver a full-scale mock-up of an ERA, to demonstrate and test current ERA operations with key stakeholder participation. This will be filmed and used to produce high quality, visual guidance material that will be shared across the recovery industry to highlight best practice.
The collaboration with the IVR is helping to develop enhanced procedures for Highways England’s Traffic Officer Service (TOS) to further support vehicle recovery operators recovering vehicles on ALR sections of motorway. This work is also assisting the IVR in generating updates to its Safety at the Roadside training materials, which includes enhanced collaborative working with the TOS. The updated training module will be delivered to a large number of UK based professional recovery operators. A similar approach is being taken with the Freight Transport Association, with a smart motorway training module planned to be rolled-out across the freight industry from January 2017. In addition to Highways England’s engagement work, the Government is also keen to discuss ALR with the relevant unions.
We remain concerned about the size and spacing of the emergency refuge areas (ERAs). We are pleased that Highways England has committed to review ERA spacing. The M4 proposal should not have gone ahead until this review was complete. (Paragraph 7)
Response: Highways England remains committed to review ERA design and spacing. The ERA demonstration will importantly facilitate practical analysis of key stakeholder concerns regarding ERA size. This will help stakeholders to assist in the identification of potential design/ operational solutions to support enhanced recovery operations and is supported by the SURVIVE group, who have committed to provide subject matter expertise from a practitioner’s perspective. The demonstration will take place by early 2017.
Highways England has also commissioned in-depth analysis to compare live-lane stops on ALR with other sections of the motorway network (including part-time hard shoulder running schemes). This will help the comparison of live-lane stopping rates and casualty collision rates on schemes with different ERA spacing and further inform the review of current ERA spacing on ALR sections of motorways. In parallel, Highways England is also taking positive steps to review the signing for ERAs. This includes reviewing the frequency and understanding of signs and also whether more can be done to make the purpose of ERAs more understandable to key user groups, such as foreign freight drivers for whom their use and potential misuse may not be immediately apparent. The approach to this work is outlined in our response to paragraph 9.
The Government and Highways England are determined to act on the findings of the reviews, through changes to design standards for new schemes or by retrofitting to existing ones, where necessary. The Government and Highways England assure the TSC that continuing with delivery of current ALR schemes does not prevent that from happening.
The Government must make sure efforts to educate drivers are backed up by meaningful enforcement; it must make sure the resources needed for both education and enforcement are adequate. The Government should assess levels of compliance with Red X signals so that it can measure the effect of any change in driver education or enforcement on these levels of compliance. It should ensure that Highways England is taking steps to investigate and learn from any errors made in the use of Red Xsignals, such as the setting of signals in the wrong place, failing to set signals or changing signals before incidents are cleared. (Paragraph 8)
Response: The Government continues to work with Highways England to monitor and understand the levels of compliance with Red X signals and to take the necessary steps to tackle it through a combination of education and enforcement. The effectiveness of the programme of work to improve driver compliance, which includes activities across the compliance 4E’s – Education, Encouragement, Engineering and Enforcement will be assessed to ensure it delivers improvements. Highways England is developing a monitoring capability to specifically identify performance trends associated with key compliance issues, such as Red X.
The Government is progressing the legislation to amend the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 to enable the use of automated detection for the enforcement of non-compliance with Red X signals, supporting the existing Police powers of manual enforcement. An interim detection system has been developed by Highways England to help the Police identify non-compliant vehicles so targeted warning letters can be issued. This is being undertaken by Highways England in partnership with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency and the Police. Prior to any automated Red X enforcement, a comprehensive campaigns programme will be launched to remind road users of their compliance obligations.
Highways England also remains committed to improving levels of signal performance. The setting and removing of accurate, helpful and timely signals has been identified as a key area that needs to be reviewed. Work has already started with key Highways England operational and technology experts to deliver continual improvement. The introduction of stationary vehicle detection will further improve the timeliness and accuracy of signal setting performance capability on ALR.
We stand by our call for a halt in the rollout of all lane running. It seems that the Government is determined to press ahead with a move to the latest design of all lane running notwithstanding the concerns that we and others have expressed. We believe that it is therefore obliged to set out, more clearly than it has so far – (Paragraph 9)
Response: Notwithstanding the growing positive evidence on the safety of ALR, the Government is mindful of the concerns highlighted by the TSC. The Government is taking a close interest in the progress of the ERA design reviews and assures the TSC that continuing with delivery of current ALR schemes does not prevent the recommendations from the reviews being acted upon for current and completed ALR schemes. Therefore, the Government does not agree with the TSC’s call for a halt to the roll-out of ALR.
- How the findings of the review into ERA spacing will be acted on and whether existing schemes will be reworked if spacing is reduced?
Response: As stated in our response to paragraphs 5 and 7, Highways England has committed to working collaboratively with stakeholders to review the size and spacing of ERAs. Work has begun to review ERA signing and Highways England will be delivering a trial of new signing by spring 2017.
The initial data from these ERA review activities will become available by the end of 2016, with the comprehensive findings to be delivered by the end of March 2017. The initial findings will be presented and discussed with motoring stakeholders such as the AA, the RAC, the IVR and other key stakeholders early in 2017. The outcomes from the Highways England’s ERA review will be reflected in standards for future schemes and will also be considered for retrofit on operational schemes. Any changes to operational schemes will be prioritised by Highways England on a needs basis, determined by performance levels and the impact of live-lane stops on safety.
- Whether gantry spacing will be adjusted for existing schemes if the specification is tightened for new schemes.
Response: Following the initial ALR schemes on the M25, Highways England strengthened the requirements for signal gantry spacing and visibility which have been incorporated into the design specification for ALR. The overarching requirement remains that signals shall be spaced between a minimum of 600m and up to a maximum of 1500m apart. This provides a degree of flexibility to position gantries in locations that are appropriate to the geometry of the particular road. Highways England is reviewing gantry spacing on the M25 at locations where specific concerns have been identified and will progress improvements as required. It is anticipated that the review will take 6 months to carry out. Highways England will also review operational schemes where specific concerns are raised in relation to gantry spacing, but evidence to date does not indicate widespread changes are required.
- When and how stationary vehicle detection systems will be retro-fitted to existing schemes?
Response: Having successfully tested a stationary vehicle detection system on the M25 ALR scheme between junction 5 and junction 6, Highways England will roll-out the radar based technology onto operational ALR sections of smart motorways, to further reduce the risk to broken down vehicles. The requirements for stationary vehicle detection are being incorporated into the smart motorways programme with the roll-out commencing in spring 2017.
- What plans it has for the dynamic hard shoulder pilot given that the Government does not consider it represents a typical design or performance for hard shoulder running?
Response: The M42 J3a–J7 part-time hard shoulder running (also known as Dynamic Hard Shoulder) pilot scheme opened in 2006 and was the first of its kind in the UK and continues to provide a safe operating environment. This pilot provided evidence that the use of the hard shoulder could provide extra capacity safely and it evolved into the ALR concept. Conversion of operational part-time hard shoulder running schemes into full-time use (ALR) would be desirable for enhanced network consistency. This will be considered as part of the programme development of future road investment periods as ALR becomes the principal smart motorways solution across the network.
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Thieves steal recovery truck after night-time raid on Thompsons of Penrith
A recovery vehicle worth thousands of pounds has been stolen from the locked forecourt compound of a vehicle repair and servicing centre.
Thieves targeted the premises of Thompsons of Penrith in the town’s Mardale Road at some on Saturday evening, braking the lock that secured the forecourt gate.
They then stole the firm’s white Iveco recovery vehicle, which had a flat-bed style rear. Police are working on the theory that the stolen vehicle was driven down Ullswater Road towards the roundabout after it was taken.
The registration number of the stolen recovery truck, which had the Thompsons of Penrith logo written along its side, was S657TRD.
If you can help police trace the stolen vehicle, or the thieves, call 101, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
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RAY COLEMAN OF LANTERN RECOVERY SPECIALIST PICKING UP MORE SILVERWARE AT BRANDS HATCH LAST WEEK
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Very sad news today with the passing of Bill Jackson (Dial-Holmes) Dial-Mec) and Wreckers International
He changed the face of Vehicle Recovery (Worldwide)
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Please see message below from Derek Firminger, Chairman of ERRI, for information.
All, you will recall discussing the imminent consultation on air quality and the introduction of the ULEZ in London being brought forward to 2019, please find below all the necessary information for the 2nd stage consultation.
Can I urge everyone to get involved please, below refers. Regards Derek
On 10 October, the Mayor, Sadiq Khan launched the second phase of consultation on proposals to improve air quality in London.
Earlier this year, the Mayor received a positive response from thousands of Londoners who gave their views on a number of initiatives to improve the quality of the air and the health of Londoners. We are now seeking views on the Emissions Surcharge proposal and options for enhancing the Ultra Low Emission Zone.
The Emissions Surcharge
We would now like your views on the proposal to introduce a new Emissions Surcharge (also known as the T-charge) in 2017. This would be a £10 daily charge for cars, vans, minibuses and heavy vehicles driving in Central London that do not meet the emissions standards. It’s mostly for vehicles registered in 2005 and older and would be in addition to the Congestion Charge.
This is a formal Variation Order consultation on the introduction of the Emissions Surcharge.
Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ)
This is a separate scheme that will operate 24/7 and introduce stricter emissions standards for vehicles. We are also seeking your views on the following ideas:
- Bringing forward the introduction of the ULEZ in central London to 2019. This is currently planned to be introduced in 2020;
- Extending the ULEZ from Central London up to the North and South Circular roads for all vehicles in 2019 or later; and
- Extending the ULEZ from Central London to Londonwide for heavy vehicles (heavy goods vehicles (HGVs), buses and coaches) in 2019 or later.
Please visit our website tfl.gov.uk/airquality-consultation for further detailed information about our proposals to improve air quality.
To provide your views, please complete the online survey on our website or alternatively email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
The consultation ends 18 December 2016.
To find out more and have your say, visit tfl.gov.uk/airquality-consultation
Have a good weekend.
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MPs have been told that the removal of motorway hard shoulders on the M25 has led to as many as 600 “near misses at high speed”.
The Daily Mail says that, for the first time, Highways England has admitted it is worried about the danger to motorists, despite rejecting police opposition to the trial, with Mike Wilson, Highways England’s chief operations officer, telling MPs, ‘The public are travelling through the Red Xs and coming across traffic officers. That is where the near miss comes from.’
The report defines near misses and ones in which cars have almost collided with police or members of the public in a lane displaying a Red X. They are either caught on CCTV, or reported by police or motorists.
Official figures show that on parts of the motorway, 12 vehicles are driving through Red X signs into closed lanes every minute at the busiest times. Mr Wilson told the transport select committee that one in 12 drivers flout the signs. Drivers are fined if they are caught in Red X lanes, but a 2014 survey for the Highways Agency found a third of road users did not know what the signs meant.
‘R’ Licence – the right direction
We’re sure most of you will have read the comprehensive article, written by Dave Gregory, in a recent issue of your Professional Recovery, but after Derek Firminger FIVR, RHA Recovery chairman and ERRI committee member, gave an excellent presentation following the IVR AGM we felt it was worth revisiting some of the content.
The European Rescue and Recovery Initiative (ERRI) was set up in 2010 to be a consultative body, consisting of trade associations and stakeholders, to deal specifically with issues such as the ‘R’ licence.
Although ERRI didn’t give a blow by blow account of its progress work was ongoing behind the scenes and what continued to become evident was the need for a united voice. This arrived with the launch of the Federation of Vehicle Recovery Associations (FoVRA). For the first time ERRI’s 46+ stakeholder members and FoVRA’s three associations were an effective force when approaching decision making national departments. The understanding and assistance of Rob Flello, MP for Stoke-on-Trent, was invaluable when it came to opening the right doors and giving advice on how to deal with the various government departments.
The presentation Derek gave to the IVR members was similar to the presentation he had given ‘Transport for London’ (TfL) a few weeks earlier. Derek began by explaining the current position;
‘We have over 2,500 recovery companies in the UK and at a calculated guess over 25,000 vehicles – this figure does not include garages with a recovery element, body shops or dealers.
The industry isn’t currently regulated, apart from PAS43 which isn’t compulsory, and when the PAS43 database was updated in January 2016 there were 589 certificates registered. The ‘R’ Licence will enable the industry to adopt the basic principles of PAS43 and move towards self-regulation. The aim is to produce a level playing field for operators where all will have to meet the same level of compliance. This would lose those who operate below the PAS43 and ‘R’ Licence compliance levels but should pose no threat to most professionally run businesses.’
‘R’ Licence – the detail;
• Vehicle scope – to include vehicles 2.5 tonnes and over
• Responsible manager – all recovery businesses will be required to have a ‘responsible manager’ who must be a CPC holder with a specialist recovery management qualification
• Registered operating centre – vehicles must be registered to this centre but not necessarily operated from it. The centre must also show accurate levels of planning and up to date records
• Waste carriers licence – required by all registered recovery businesses
• Vehicle maintenance – a planned maintenance schedule in line with the Department for Transport (DfT) Guide to Maintaining Roadworthiness
• MOT testing and roadworthiness – all vehicles, regardless of any exceptions, must have at the very least an annual roadworthiness test carried out by an approved Automated Test Facility (ATF)?
• Overloading – all recovery operators are responsible for maintaining a safe loading policy in line with DVSA guidelines
• Driver’s hours regulations – all recovery operators are to maintain and keep driver’s hours records in conjunction with DVSA Guide to Recovery Operations
• Vehicle excise duty (VED) – will remain the same, providing vehicles meet the definition of a recovery vehicle, as defined by the DVSA Guide to Recovery
• Insurance – all recovery operators are to have adequate insurance cover which must include P/L, R/R (including passengers) and G.I.T
• CRB/DBS vetting and ID cards – all staff are to undergo vetting whatever their position, consideration under the Rehabilitation Act must be considered
• Fitness and repute – the recovery operator must demonstrate their fitness to hold a licence using the arrangement covered under a Restricted Operator Licence – no bankruptcy, EU driver’s hour offences etc
• Financial standing – the financial arrangements of a Restricted Operator Licence will be used – first vehicle £3,100, all other vehicles £1,700
• Driver training – must meet current DCPC regulations and also comply with the ‘National Occupational Standard’. The Institute of Vehicle Recovery (IVR) has ensured all training meets this standard. Training is not restricted only to the IVR but any alternative undertaken must reach this required standard
• Enforcement – it is envisaged that the scheme will be managed by a UKAS approved and certified auditor and the audit process will be carried out in conjunction with any annual PAS 43 audit
Recovery Operators Licensing Scheme (ROLS)
Details of accreditation are still to be confirmed but at the time of going to press the proposal being discussed was;
Bronze – Introductory Recovery Operator Licence
• Must comply to PAS43
• Hold planning permission for premises used
• Have planned maintenance regime
• Comply to Department of Transport guide to maintaining roadworthiness
• Driver training minimum VR1,2 and 3 (Core Modules)
The Bronze level will only be available to new operators who will be audited within the first 3 months. Within 12 months of the first audit they will have been expected to have achieved Silver status
Silver – Compliant Recovery Operator Licence
• Must comply to ALL aspects of ROLS
Currently it is proposed that all existing businesses will enter ROLS at the Silver level.
Gold – Advanced Recovery Operator Licence
• Must comply to ALL aspects of ROLS
• Must adhere to NHSS17/17B and ISO 9001
Gold will also have some additional requirements, such as;
• National Operators Licence
• Performance Management
• Economic and Environmental Sustainability
• Incident & Collision Data Management
• Evidence Direct Operating Cost
All still open to discussion, but in effect the highest level of compliance in today’s challenging market.
The ERRI and FoVRA joint group will prepare the main document and agree all elements of accreditation, which will be followed by a meeting with accreditation bodies UKAS, Thatcham and BSI. The Department for Transport (DfT) will then be notified of the detail, process and timelines and date will be agreed.
So why do we need regulation?
Frequently the professionalism of our industry isn’t recognised, could this be partly due to the fact that unlike other emergency services we aren’t regulated? Regulation and the level playing field for all operators could mean losing those who operate below PAS43 and the proposed ‘R’ Licence compliance level, which can only be good for the industry.
With the high levels of professionalism within the industry the implementation process for most will be relatively easy, but for some it could prove more of a challenge. The suggestion is to start looking at your own operation now and carry out your own pre-audits.
The Institute would like to thank Derek Firminger FIVR for his presentation and also all the members of both the ERRI and FoVRA Standards and Regulatory Groups for their commitment to achieving self-regulation of our industry. If they had done nothing regulations could have been imposed on us that would have neither taken into account the diverse nature of our business or the highly specialist role we fulfil.
We would like to acknowledge Ashley Wilkie who did the R Licence logos/artwork
Ashley Wilkie, Graphic Designer, ashleywilkie.co.uk
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ANOTHER USED VEHICLE SUPPLIED TO RYE RECOVERY
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May 4, 2016
New regulations to ensure that personal protective equipment (PPE) meets the required standards have come into force.
According to leading PPE manufacturer JSP, the new PPE Regulation, which replaces the existing PPE Directive, levels the playing field between importers and manufacturers in terms of the obligations placed on them.
All PPE importers must now be able to demonstrate they have set up, and are maintaining and monitoring, sample testing, including keeping test records of products they import and sell onto the market, under a robust and audited quality management system (QMS).
The Regulation is a binding piece of legislation that applies across all EU member states. These more stringent measures will ensure that importers are less able to bring in low-specification, substandard or fake PPE products. Just as manufacturers are already obliged to do, importers will have to undertake more tests and operate such QMS systems at full cost to themselves.
JSP has always run exhaustive and expensive tests on all its PPE, including head, eye, face, respiratory and working at height protection, and complies fully with BSI certification on all its products to ensure they are of the highest possible quality.
Mark Johnstone, chief executive of JSP, said: “The new PPE Regulation will be a big improvement on the old Directive. Manufacturers have long had to carry the cost of the required rigorous testing of their products, whilst importers did not have to do so. The new Regulation not only makes the situation fairer for everyone involved, but will also help to drive out fake and counterfeit PPE from the EU.”
Safety concerns over use of all-lane motorways
Emergency and breakdown recovery services have voiced major concerns about the safety of ‘all-lane running’ if it is to be rolled out across the UK’s major roads network.
The concept for all-lane running, where the hard shoulder is also used, was originally piloted on a stretch of the M42, and ‘smart’ sections of motorway can now be found on the M1, M4, M5, M6 and M25 (see panel, below).
All new sections of smart motorway are expected to be based on the all-lane-running configuration.
MPs launched an inquiry into all-lane running in November 2015 to evaluate its effectiveness in managing capacity and congestion, and its impact on road safety.
Simon Wickenden, Metropolitan Police Service traffic management officer, told the Transport Committee evidence session on April 18 the risk of collision for a stationary vehicle that has broken down on an all-lane running motorway increases by 200%.
Wickenden said: “While Highways England has shown all-lane running can improve journey times and has reduced some collision types, our view is that collision types where the risk has increased and are more likely to be fatal are not sufficiently mitigated against.”
Wickenden gave an example of a recent fatality in March after a vehicle broke down on the all-lane running section of the M25. The incident is still under investigation by Essex Police, but the car is believed to have run out of fuel in an unlit section of the motorway and a lorry collided with the vehicle, killing the rear passenger and seriously injuring the other two occupants in the car.
Wickenden said there have been 3,700 breakdowns on the all-lane running section between J23-J27 of the M25 in the past 12 months.
Both the RAC and The AA, who also gave evidence at the committee meeting, raised concerns on the lack of understanding from drivers about adhering to the ‘red X’ sign, general understanding of how smart motorways work and the distance between emergency refuge areas (ERA).
Edmund King, AA president, called for the amount of ERAs to be doubled on any stretch of all-lane running motorway and for each ERA to be doubled in length from 30 to 60 metres.
The current distance between ERAs on all-lane running is 1.55 miles.
King said he doesn’t feel there has been “adequate consultation” on all-lane running for it to be rolled out on a wider basis.
He said: “The lack of ERAs creates an issue where some truck drivers are taking tachograph breaks there and one truck takes up the entire space.
“If there is nowhere for vehicles to go in an emergency, it creates a congestion and safety issue.”
David Bizley, RAC chief engineer, said there is a problem with drivers’ adherence to use of the red X over the carriageway and more needs to be done with education and enforcement.
He said: “Motorists have a poor understanding of what to look out for or what to do if they break down on all-lane running sections of the motorway.”
The breakdown services’ current policy is not to attend a broken down vehicle on an all-lane running motorway as it is deemed as too high a risk for their recovery teams. This means vehicles have to call 999 for aid and a recovery vehicle can attend if the lane has been closed and access is safe.
What is all-lane running?
All-lane running motorways have variable speed limits, no hard shoulder, and emergency refuge areas every 1.5 miles. Highways England uses CCTV cameras and variable message signs to manage smart motorways.
Depending on the type of motorway, speed restrictions can be set and lanes closed in the event of an incident or congestion. Information signs are used to warn drivers about queuing traffic and speed limits as well as being used to close lanes and divert traffic.
The red X sign is used to show when a lane is closed due to an incident or obstruction. If a red X is displayed drivers must not proceed further in the lane indicated.
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Parliament’s Transport Select Committee has received reports of concerns about some aspects of smart motorways.
It’s published a number of written submissions on its website after asking for views on a number of issues including the impact of all-lane running on safety, effectiveness of managing capacity and congestion and the implication on further developments.
Feedback was negative when it came to the distance between refuge areas, suggesting every two and a half miles was too far, while also questioning frequency of gantries.
It was also noted that some foreign lorry drivers were using refuge areas as parking places.
The AA is concerned about breakdowns in lane one saying it believes that the risk to a vehicle broken down in lane one in the dark is too great to accept, particularly as incident detection systems do not detect queues when traffic flow is light.
However ITS (UK)’s evidence pointed out that ‘all lane running’ schemes appear to be effective in both reducing fatalities and serious/slight injury road collisions whilst simultaneously improving traffic flow through more effective management of congestion at peak times. ITS technologies and policies are integral to many of these schemes and provide early notification of spontaneous incidents (ie collisions) or developing incidents (ie congestion through excess traffic flow). This then enables pro-active interventions to be initiated – either automatically or by a control room operator who has made an assessment of the situation in hand. ITS systems will then support the incident management and will assist in the restoration of normal traffic flow patterns. In such a manner ITS is crucial in ensuring that ‘all lane running’ schemes are effective and efficient.
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New old neighbours’ group is formed
Big Day: John Rogers, of Unity Recovery, Betty Smith, Shirley Langton, Margaret Thompson, Graham Marvin, Clive Wills and Harry Buswell.
As they say, it’s never too late… especially for a chin-wag with some old friends over a pint or few.
That’s what I learned from readers John Rogers and Betty Smith, who told me of a new old neighbours group that’s been set up in Leicester.
John and Betty grew up in Belgrave and now, several decades later, invite those who lived in Strathmore Avenue and surrounding streets, between the 1930s to 1950s, to join them for a friendly reunion.
As Betty says: “As kids, we knew everyone in those days and got up to a lot, from scrumping on Appleton’s Farm to climbing trees and building dens.”
The photo shows former resident Harry Buswell in the driver’s seat of a 1928 AA Ford recovery truck, bearing the livery of the local Unity Recovery company.
It was Harry’s 82nd birthday and he wanted to drive a vehicle with a crash-type gearbox, so John Rogers, of Unity Recovery, organised this nice surprise in a classic utility truck.
Since November, the friends have been meeting at the Dog and Gun pub, in Syston, every other Thursday, for a lunch time jazz club.
However, they would like others to join them.
If you lived in the Strathmore Avenue area between 1930 and 1960, the group invite you to join. Contact Betty on 0116 269 6969.
Read more: http://www.leicestermercury.co.uk/New-old-neighbours-8217-group-formed/story-28751905-detail/story.html#ixzz40Vlj42Pe
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SAVE THE DATE – 2016 Tow Show dates announced!
The Professional Recovery Tow Show has announced the dates for next year’s show. The organisers have renewed their contract with the Telford International Centre but have decided to move the show from its usual Thursday and Friday slot to Wednesday and Thursday 7-8 September.
Paul Gregory, the Tow Show director said: “The slight change in the show days is something we have been considering for a couple of years. Having the show on a Wednesday and Thursday will work a little better for many exhibitors and visitors because Friday traffic builds up much earlier in the day and we want our visitors to enjoy the show right up to closing time if that is their preference.
“Other than that everything stays the same. The set-up day will be Tuesday 6 September with the show taking place on the Wednesday and Thursday 7-8 September. Every year we have modified the show to improve the experience for everyone involved. We have even explored different venues for next year but the Telford International Centre offers us the space we need, the car parking, ample space for the evening Gala Charity Dinner and most importantly plenty of hotel rooms on site.
“We have had detailed talks with the Telford International Centre and they have given us assurances that the access to hotel rooms will be improved for next year’s show. There were a few problems this year and they have been addressed.”
The Tow Show is the UK’s biggest industry showcase and this year’s show was a complete sell out as Paul Gregory said:
“This year was sold out a month before the event which is probably an indication of the confidence that has returned to the market place. We are keen to start selling exhibition space even earlier this year so if exhibitors are interested in attending we are keen to hear from them to ensure they get the space they prefer.
“This year’s exhibitors will be getting a reminder that they need to book their space early to avoid disappointment – so please give me a call.”
Dave Gregory, editor of Professional Recovery magazine said: “We work very hard to tell our readers the value of attending the Tow Show. It is the one day of the year that operators should make the effort to attend. All the major work providers exhibit at the show and they all dedicate key members of staff to talk to operators.
“It isn’t everyone who is in the market for a new truck but if you are then all the major manufacturers are at the show with their latest pieces of kit. On top of that the Tow Show is a ‘Who’s Who’ of the recovery industry so if you are looking for parts, accessories, finance or insurance, just about everyone you need to talk to is there.”
New Guidelines updated 7th July 2015
Liebherr develops armoured rescue crane
Liebherr has developed a four axle armoured crane rescue vehicle for the German Army.
The G-BKF can rescue and tow the new generation of armoured control and command vehicles, armoured transport vehicles, MULTI FSA (swap body vehicles) and wheeled vehicles. It is also capable of providing tactical infantry cover over long distances, providing repair and handling support as well as deployment for rescue, recovery and emergency aid tasks.
Liebherr has developed an armoured rescue crane vehicle on a four axle mobile crane chassis
A key focus of the crane is to protect its occupants. Liebherr worked with leading European military technology company Rheinmetall Defence to produce the armoured driver’s and crane cabs. The special driver’s cab was extended by 250mm to provide storage space for the extensive personal protective equipment for the crew and integrate the military communication equipment.
The cab features a double-thickness steel bulkhead and special glass offering ballistic protection yet meets all road traffic requirements. The protection has been verified to STANAG 4569/ AEP 55. The crane cab is also armoured with composite panels bolted to a steel bearing structure – to reduce weight.
The four axle carrier is based on a standard All Terrain crane chassis, with all wheel steer and drive . Despite its weight and size it is said to have excellent off-road properties and manoeuvrability.
In towing mode, vehicles weighing up to 16 tonnes can be mounted on the lift cradle at the rear. An extensive range of accessories allows it to tow almost all German Army wheeled vehicles.
Simultaneously pulling with the crane winch and rescue winch
Two Rotzler Treibmatik winches are mounted on the rear of the vehicle, and the smaller winch can be moved to the front for self-rescue purposes. The chassis is also equipped with rescue jacks for recovering a damaged vehicle from difficult terrain. Synchronised winching allows a damaged vehicle to be raised slightly whilst being pulled by the other.
The G-BKF is fitted with a 20.9 metre main boom which can handle loads of up to 20 tonnes. All the crane’s control functions, the towing device, the two rescue winches and the jacks can be operated either from a protected position in the crane’s cab using the standard controls or from the ground using a standard Liebherr remote controller.
During development consideration was also given to extending the range of armoured mobile crane vehicles for the German Army so as many of the components as possible were ‘off-the-shelf’ items. One major requirement was that the machine must operate in exactly the same way as a standard Liebherr All Terrain crane for ease of training.
The main feature of this concept is its adaptability. Whilst there is not the need for rescues every day, hoisting work is almost always required, whether it involves containers or unloading a truck.
DRIVING LICENCE CHANGES
INDIVIDUAL TYPE APPROVAL GOES ONLINE
Police Scotland, the second largest Force in the UK after the Metropolitan Police, has signed a major three-year contract with FMG.
FMG expects to manage circa 25,000 recoveries a year, for vehicles which have been driven without insurance, stolen, involved in collisions or involved in crime.
The contract covers policing throughout Scotland, which formerly consisted of eight separate forces and recently merged to become one.
As part of the contract, FMG will also provide specialist forensic facilities, vehicle storage, and vehicle disposal services.
It is already the recovery services provider for several police forces, including a recently-extended contract with the Lancashire Constabulary Framework Contract.
Superintendent Jim Leslie, from Police Scotland’s operational support division and project executive, said: “We are pleased to be working in partnership with FMG. It means there is one single contract for this service instead of the different arrangements which existed under the former legacy forces.
“A major benefit for Police Scotland is that the new structure will release police officers from administrative duties and their return to operation roles will assist in keeping people safe.”
John Catling, CEO of FMG, said: “We have worked very closely with the Scottish Police Authority throughout the tender process to fully understand its operation, and we are delighted to have won this contract.
“We specialise in reducing cost, mitigating risk and managing resources and through this contract we will take away the day-to-day management of vehicle recoveries, thus allowing the Police to focus on the challenging requirements of policing.
“We look forward to working closely with Scottish Police Authority to increase efficiencies and enhance its operational performance.”
FMG says it has demonstrated its ability to manage this complex contract through its proven vehicle recovery experience, fully-vetted national recovery network and specific knowledge in dealing with police processes. This includes preserving evidence on or within vehicles, specialist vehicle examination and storage arrangements.
All services are managed from FMG’s secure and dedicated police control room, with all staff screened and police-vetted.
ATTACHMENTS FOR LIFTING THE NEW MERCEDES ACTROS
AXLE LIFT OPTION
Using the Low Fork and Offset pedestals shown below the weight reduced front axle can be lifted outboard of the spring hanger and anti-roll bar mount
The operator must ensure the casualty is chained and secured correctly before towing.
TOWING EYE OPTION
The New Actros can also be lifted and towed via the front towing eyes using the Liftbar Extensions and Lifting Eye Fork.
The operator must ensure the casualty is chained and secured correctly before towing.
Rob Flello MP – Are you risking your life by ignoring safety rules?
WEDNESDAY, JULY 16, 2014. PRESS RELEASE FROM ROB FLELLO, CHAIRMAN OF THE ALL-PARTY PARLIAMENTARY GROUP ON FREIGHT TRANSPORT AND LABOUR MP FOR STOKE-ON-TRENT SOUTH. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE.
‘If vehicle recovery operators are forced to risk their lives by ignoring safety rules, let me know’, minister tells MPs’ freight group chairman
Rob Flello responds by urging victims to give him their stories so he can tell the Government, adding: “Your safety must be paramount.”
‘IF VEHICLE recovery operators are forced to risk their lives by ignoring safety rules, let me know’, a transport minister has told an MP.
Rob Flello, Labour chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Freight Transport, received the request from Robert Goodwill, Parliamentary under Secretary of State at the Department for Transport, after raising concerns on behalf of operators.
Mr Flello told the Minister that FMG, the company employed by the Highways Agency to oversee recovery operations on the strategic road network, had seemingly instructed subcontractors to complete jobs even if their request for lane closures were denied – and to record any incidents as ‘near-misses’.
In his letter of response, Mr Goodwill said “the Highways Agency have confirmed that since the commencement of the Next Generation Vehicle Recovery Contract there have been no reported incidents by FMG of their recovery operators being forced to continue with their recovery activities”.
However the minister also told Mr Flello to “let me know if you do know of specific instances”, a response which has prompted the MP to urge vehicle recovery operators to tell him about any incidents in which their safety has been compromised.
Mr Flello said: “Recovery operators do a sterling job keeping traffic moving on our major roads, but this is work that should not be done if it exposes them to unnecessary risks; their safety must always remain paramount.
“That’s why I would urge those who feel their lives have been put in danger to give me the details so I can then pass them on to Mr Goodwill so he can prevent similar incidents from happening again.”
In his letter, the transport minister said factors such as time, traffic flow and location influenced “whether or not a closure can be applied or whether the attending operator is to be asked to stop work until a closure can be applied.
“Where a closure may result in severe traffic congestion, particularly during peak hour traffic flows, a lane closure may be delayed until such time as traffic flows are lower,” Mr Goodwill said.
The minister said there was evidence of recoveries being delayed until closures could be applied.
Rye Recovery Sussex are delighted with this Isuzu Recovery vehicle supplied by Recoveryvehicles.com
Historic move marks fight back against call handlers who are profiteering is feared to be driving some
Recovery Operators to the wall
The leading VEHICLE recovery associations are joining forces to set up their own company to bid for contracts from police forces and the Highways Agency with the sole aim of improving contractual terms for Vehicle Recovery Operators.
The historic and proactive move is the first step in a fight back against call handlers whose profiteering is feared to be driving some operators out of business.
A spokesperson for the associations said: “The call handling companies who currently hold these contracts are already making substantial profits.
“But they are now squeezing our members’ margins so tightly that some are running at a loss or even going out of business.
“This intolerable situation cannot be allowed to continue, so, in the interests of our members, we have united to form our own company to bid for the contracts.”
The Federation of Vehicle Recovery Associations (“FOVRA”) will aim to win contracts from Police Forces and the Highways Agency by competing with firms currently holding these contracts.
Under the existing regime, these businesses handle recovery operation calls but sub-contract the work involved to vehicle recovery operators which includes members of the organisations involved in FOVRA. The Federation’s membership currently consists of the leading Trade Associations in the Industry – AVRO (Association of Vehicle Recovery Operators), RRRA (Road Rescue Recovery Association) and SVRA (Scottish Vehicle Recovery Association).
However, if the FOVRA wins any future tenders it will only cover its running costs while handing the rest of the money to the operators involved. FOVRA believes this initiative is truly “by the industry for the industry” with any residual profits from FOVRA being ploughed back into the vehicle recovery industry.
The spokesperson said: “Unlike the current set up”, FOVRA will ensure individual operators are paid properly for their work rather than being ripped off by one of the industry’s middle men. The ultimate aim being an increase in revenue to the VRO to ensure a sustainable future for them and generations to come.
“Customers will be assured of receiving a proper service from an operator who knows they will not have their margins squeezed by a call handler.
“Everyone will be a winner because the new arrangement will not cost the Highways Agency or police force involved a penny more”.
“On the contrary, if things remain as they are everyone may lose out because the call handlers’ actions could result in fewer and fewer recovery operators and a resultant fall in standards.
“Our fear is that this would not be in the interests of a competitive market which works in the interests of the contract holder, firms involved or the customer.”
When towing a trailer great care should be taken and more responsibility accepted. Remember Safety first! Accidents involving trailers are much worse with greater consequences than without a trailer.You vehicle is longer and heavier and all your load is anchored to your vehicle at one small point. Like an airline pilot you must regularly check the condition of your trailer and linkage to make sure that you arrive safely and with everything that you had at the start of your journey.
Click on a make of car below to display the towing weights for each model.
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