SUPPORTING THE INDUSTRY
Specialised Heavy Vehicles: Exemptions from Annual Testing
Government Response to Consultation
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We have noted the views expressed in response to the consultation, and would like to thank all those who took the time to write to us.
The responses were broadly in favour of the principle of introducing mandatory roadworthiness testing for specialised heavy vehicles, which can weigh up to 44 tonnes, where this is practicable and proportionate.
The UK has an excellent record in improving road safety for all road users, and robust and comprehensive roadworthiness testing is a key means of achieving this. Our statistics indicate that the vehicles that are exempt from testing are more likely to be involved in road accidents that were caused by vehicle defects.
It is important that the regulatory regime keeps up as the vehicles used on our roads develop and adapt. Increased standardisation of design has made many formerly special, “untestable” vehicles no different from a practical perspective from heavy goods vehicles.
At the same time, we have listened to stakeholders’ views, and where there are good reasons for certain vehicles remaining outside the formal testing regime, the proposals have been modified accordingly.
We intend to bring forward amending legislation to put the decisions set out in this document into effect. This will contribute to safer roads for everyone.
Jesse Norman MP
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Roads, Local Transport and Devolution.
- As set out in our Road Safety Statement published in 2015, the Government will pursue a wide range of policies to help deliver its commitment to reducing the numbers of road users killed or seriously injured each year. Roadworthiness testing is an important means of ensuring vehicles are in a safe condition to be used on the road.
- Legislation specifies which vehicles must undergo roadworthiness testing, and sets the technical standards they must meet. This legislation has several exemptions from testing, including for many large and heavy vehicles, which have been in place for several decades.
- Between 11 December 2014 and 5 March 2015, the Department consulted on removing some of the exemptions from testing for certain specialised heavy vehicles. The proposals were with a view to ultimately reducing the number of defects on currently exempt vehicles, and consequently the number of accidents these defects contribute to.
- This document is the Government’s response to the consultation, the final proposals and way forward. Alongside this, we are publishing an impact assessment of the expected costs and benefits of the changes.
- We proposed that it is sensible that all heavy vehicles should undergo roadworthiness testing to identify defects, unless there is a clear reason why this is not practical or proportionate.
- Annual roadworthiness testing for heavy goods vehicles is covered by the Goods Vehicles (Plating and Testing) Regulations 1988 (as amended). The regulations contain a number of exemptions from the requirement for annual testing for certain vehicle types (based on a mixture of design and use).2 The consultation proposed to remove 12 of these exemptions, with the important caveat that this would only apply to vehicles that are based on an HGV chassis.
- Vehicle defects can cause accidents, injuries and fatalities. The risk of an accident having serious consequences increases as the weights involved increase. Statistics show that vehicle defects are more likely to be a contributory factor in accidents involving the currently exempted vehicles than those involving typical HGVs. Introducing roadworthiness testing for some of these vehicles is therefore expected to reduce the number of such accidents.
- Furthermore, the number of exempt vehicles is far higher than when the regulations were first made, for example with the advent of more applications for vehicle-based
plant. This raises concerns about material road safety risks arising from untested vehicles. It also creates inequity between operators of similar vehicles, some of whom are required to test their vehicles and others who are not.
- We consider that these exemptions were initially put in place primarily on the grounds of practicality, as the vehicles tended to be of varied design and construction and would not all be able to undergo goods vehicle testing. However, specialised heavy vehicles are now much more standardised, in many cases based on typical heavy goods vehicle (HGV) chassis.
- The consultation proposals were designed to implement the existing and new EU Directives on roadworthiness testing, 2009/40/EU and 2014/45/EU respectively. The latest Directive requires testing for:
- vehicle categories N2 and N3 – motor vehicles designed and constructed primarily for the carriage of goods, having a maximum mass exceeding 3.5 tonnes;
- vehicle categories O3 and O4 – trailers designed and constructed for the carriage of goods or persons, as well as for the accommodation of persons, having a maximum mass exceeding 3.5 tonnes.
- This means that all specialised heavy vehicles constructed on or adapted from HGV chassis’ are required to be tested. The current regulations exempt some vehicles that are considered category N2, N3, O3 and O4 and so we are required to amend our regulations to bring such vehicles into testing.
- The government respected the EU referendum result and triggered Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union on 29th March 2017 to begin the process of exit. Until exit negotiations are concluded, the UK remains a full member of the European Union and all the rights and obligations of EU membership remain in force. During this period the Government will also continue to negotiate, implement and apply EU legislation. The outcome of these negotiations will determine what arrangements apply in relation to EU legislation in the future once the UK has left the EU. However, we would like to make clear that we consider that the changes detailed in this document are worth making on the grounds of the above road safety rationale, irrespective of our current EU obligations.
- The consultation received 70 responses. In general there was strong support from respondents for the introduction of annual roadworthiness testing for the vehicles covered in the consultation. A summary of responses to the consultation has previously been published on the gov.uk website.
- Consultation responses generally supported the proposals in the consultation and the rationale for these changes. For each vehicle type, we have considered the appropriateness of removing the exemption. These final proposals are in keeping with our view that vehicles based on an HGV chassis should undergo testing unless, for some reason, this is not practical or proportionate.
- We will remove the exemption for the following categories of vehicle, where they are based on an HGV chassis:
- Mobile cranes;
- Break-down vehicles;
- Engineering plant and plant, not being engineering plant, which is movable plant or equipment being a motor vehicle or trailer (not constructed primarily to carry a load) especially designed and constructed for the special purposes of engineering operations;
- Trailers being drying or mixing plant designed for the production of asphalt or of bituminous or tarmacadam;
- Tower wagons;
- Road construction vehicles (but not road rollers and other specialised equipment not based on an HGV chassis);
- Electrically propelled motor vehicles registered since 1 March 2015;
- Tractor units pulling exempt trailers; and
- Motor tractors and heavy and light locomotives exempted under sections 185 and 186 (3) of the Road Traffic Act 1988, where these are based on a HGV chassis.
- We also consulted on removing the exemptions for:
- Vehicles constructed or adapted for, and used primarily for the purpose of, medical, dental, veterinary, health, educational, display, clerical or experimental laboratory services; and
- Heavy vehicles exempted under paragraph 44.1.(e) of the Goods Vehicles (Plating and Testing) Regulations 1988, i.e. vehicles operating under STGO or vehicle special orders under Section 44 of the Road Traffic Act 1988.
- We have decided not to remove these two exemptions.
- In addition, showman’s vehicles, many of which are currently exempt from testing as plant or motor tractors, will remain exempt from testing via a new specific exemption.
- ‘Based on a HGV chassis’ means vehicles that we would consider to be subject to European Community Whole Vehicle Type Approval (ECWVTA) (if brought to market today) as category N2, N3, O3 or O4 vehicles. To add clarity, the new regulations will include an exemption for ‘mobile machinery’ which covers bespoke vehicle constructions, for example road rollers. Note that this does not include machines mounted to a HGV chassis.
- The exemption for vehicles first used before 1960 will be amended so that vehicles which have been substantially altered will not benefit from this exemption.
- In total, we estimate there to be around 29,500 vehicles that will be brought into testing. The largest groups of vehicles affected are breakdown vehicles, road construction vehicles and engineering plant. Each vehicle type is discussed in more detail below.
- The consultation proposed to remove the exemption from testing for vehicles on the
Isle of Bute, and also for vehicles based on the Arran, Great Cumbrae, Islay, Mull, Tiree or North Uist but which are used on mainland Great Britain. Vehicles used exclusively on these islands were proposed to remain exempt from testing.
- The Department more recently ran a consultation in 2016 on introducing roadworthiness testing for fast tractors and technical changes to vehicle testing. It considered this island-related exemption alongside a proposed change for class VII vans (vans of 3-3.5 tonnes) on Bute. The response to that consultation is published separately and announces that we will implement the proposed changes for Scottish islands.
- The focus of the consultation was on the requirement for annual roadworthiness testing. However, heavy vehicles within scope of annual roadworthiness testing are also by default within scope of vehicle plating. This involves DVSA issuing a plating certificate, in advance of a vehicle’s first test, to be attached to the vehicle that denotes the maximum vehicle weight and maximum train weight. This assists with vehicle testing and enforcement. There is no fee to vehicle operators for being plated, but this imposes an administrative cost to DVSA, funded by roadworthiness test fees.
- We asked whether vehicles being brought into testing should continue to be exempt from plating.
- There was a general preference from respondents to continue exempting these vehicles from plating requirements. It should be noted that just over half of those who responded to this question were from the volumetric concrete mixer (VCM) industry. These responses were against plating on the principle that it would limit their operating weight to 32 tonnes.
- We believe plating is of benefit in the testing and enforcement process, particularly where the vehicles operating weight changes substantially during use. Therefore, in general, the vehicles being brought into testing will be required to be plated.
- However, we are aware that in certain cases there may be difficulties in determining the plated weight of the vehicle. Therefore, we intend to amend the regulations to give DVSA the discretion on whether a vehicle can be plated to allow these specific vehicles to undergo a roadworthiness test without a plate.
- For VCMs, we are continuing policy work related to the maximum weight of these vehicles, and will not require these vehicles to be plated until a way forward on their maximum weights has been devised.
- Vehicles becoming subject to testing will join the existing goods vehicle testing regime where DVSA personnel test vehicles at Authorised Testing Facilities (ATFs). Where, due to the unusual design of a particular vehicle, this is not possible, the vehicle testers will satisfy themselves that safety and environmental standards will be maintained. The fees for these tests will be the same as applies to all currently tested HGVs.
- Responses to the consultation indicated that some individual vehicles may be difficult to test, or in some cases may not fit into ATFs.
- Although, as discussed further below, vehicles operating under s44 orders will remain exempt from testing, a small number of vehicles in other categories may face similar issues and so we have considered special arrangements to ensure there is testing provision for these vehicles.
- To do this, DVSA will be able to designate one-off or ‘occasional’ sites to test these vehicles. These may be neither ATF nor DVSA-owned sites, but will be places where a goods vehicle test can be conducted. This would apply only to vehicles that DVSA determine cannot reasonably be tested within the existing range of test sites, and is anticipated to be required infrequently.
- Under Schedule 3 to the Vehicles Excise Act 1971 (as enacted), “mobile crane” means a vehicle designed and constructed as a mobile crane which (a) is used on public roads only either as a crane in connection with work being carried out on a site in the immediate vicinity or for the purpose of proceeding to and from a place where it is to be used as a crane; and (b) when so proceeding neither carries nor hauls any load other than such as is necessary for its propulsion or equipment.
- Mobile cranes are constructed as either a crane fitted to a HGV chassis or a specialised, bespoke construction. The consultation proposal was to require testing only of the HGV based cranes.
- Respondents generally agreed that HGV based mobile cranes should be tested, but acknowledged that some of the larger ones may not fit into ATFs and would need special arrangements because of their weight and height.
- The exemption from testing will be removed for mobile cranes that are based on an HGV chassis.
- Industry representatives have told us that the majority of these mobile cranes are specialised constructions, and would not therefore become subject to statutory testing. We are pleased to note that industry is developing a specialised voluntary testing scheme for the larger, bespoke construction cranes. We will help to facilitate this wherever possible.
- Breakdown vehicles are motor vehicles with permanently mounted apparatus designed for raising one disabled vehicle partly from the ground and drawing that vehicle when so raised; and, which are not equipped to carry any load other than articles required in connection with that apparatus or for repairing disabled vehicles. This is the most abundant of all the vehicle categories considered in this consultation.
- There was particularly strong support for the annual roadworthiness testing of these vehicles, as breakdown vehicles are generally based on a normal HGV chassis and are in regular use on the road. However, one trade association thought that modifications that enable these vehicles to fulfil their roles could pose difficulties for testing in ATFs, and some respondents suggested that breakdown vehicles operating under the special types legislation should remain exempt. Our decision to retain the exemption for s44 (special type) vehicles will mean that those larger breakdown
vehicles operating under this regime continue to be exempt from testing. Operators of unusual or modified designs need to ensure that they choose a suitable ATF that is able to accommodate their particular vehicle.
- The exemption from testing will be removed for breakdown vehicles that are based on an HGV chassis. This will also address the current discrepancy between breakdown vehicles and ‘light’ breakdown vehicles and recovery vehicles, which currently need to be tested.
- Engineering plant is defined in Regulation 3 of the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986 (“C&U”) as movable plant or equipment being a motor vehicle or trailer specially designed and constructed for the special purposes of engineering operations, and which cannot, owing to the requirements of those purposes, comply with all the requirements of C&U and which is not constructed primarily to carry a load. The current exemption also applies to “plant not being engineering plant” which can comply with the requirements of C&U.
- There are a large number of vehicles in this category, but given the wide variety of purposes of these vehicles and the wide variety of classifications applied to them we do not have robust data on how many are of standard HGV construction.
- Some respondents were unsure whether their vehicles would be considered as based on an HGV chassis. As stated above, this distinction is based on whether the underlying vehicle has been/would have been subject to type approval as an N2 or N3 vehicle. The Department will publish guidance to clarify this point. As with other vehicle types, our decision to retain the exemption for s44 (special type) vehicles will mean that larger engineering plant operating under the Special Types regime continue to be exempt from testing.
- The exemption from testing will be removed for both engineering plant and other plant that is based on an HGV chassis. Vehicles not based on a normal HGV chassis, such as some types of construction plant, will continue to be exempt. Due to the diverse range of vehicles this may affect, DVSA may need to test some of these vehicles outside ATFs. Volumetric concrete mixers will therefore be brought into testing.
- These are generally draw-bar trailers designed to transport molten asphalt in bulk. The asphalt necessarily needs to be heated on site and the trailers are therefore also equipped with some form of heating unit.
- A number of concerns were raised by respondents to the consultation regarding the condition of the trailers at the time of testing to ensure they are clean enough and safe to test without the need for disassembly of the trailer. However, these trailers are already required to be roadworthy and to this end we would consider them likely to require periodical servicing. We will expect the trailers to be similarly prepared for a roadworthiness test as for servicing.
- The exemption from testing for tarmac trailers will be removed.
- Tower wagons are vehicles which carry an integral expanding or extendible device for facilitating the erection, inspection, repair or maintenance of overhead structures or equipment, but which are not constructed for the conveyance of any other load.
- No significant issues relating to testing these vehicles were identified by respondents to the consultation, though we understand they can be very large or tall. However, the hydraulic hoists generally collapse completely onto the body of the vehicle so we consider the vehicles are not likely to be oversized and unable to fit into ATFs.
- Operators of unusual or modified designs need to ensure that they choose a suitable ATF that is able to accommodate their particular vehicle. Exceptionally, if a tower wagon is oversized or overweight, DVSA can test this vehicle outside an ATF.
- The exemption from testing will be removed for tower wagons that are based on an HGV chassis.
- Road construction vehicles are defined in section 61 of the Vehicle Excise and Registration Act 1994 (as originally enacted). These are heavy goods vehicles which are constructed or adapted for use for the conveyance of built-in road construction machinery, and which are not constructed or adapted for the conveyance of any other load except articles and material used for the purposes of such machinery.
- This category can include a wide range of body types, some of which may also be considered plant. This category also includes a number of highly specialised vehicles, such as road rollers, tar scrapers etc. These specialised vehicles will not be included in the testing regime due to their highly specialised nature and the difficulties in testing them.
- A number of respondents to the consultation raised concerns regarding the condition of the vehicles at the time of testing to ensure they are clean enough and safe to test without the need for disassembly. As with tarmac trailers above, we expect these vehicles already undergo periodical servicing. We will expect these vehicles to be presented for test in a manner that the components can be tested.
- We will remove the exemption from testing for road construction vehicles that are based on an HGV chassis.
- These are the same as typical HGVs other than that they are propelled by electric motors rather than by an internal combustion engine. The original exemption would have applied to more uncommon electric vehicles, such as milk floats, and was not intended to apply to typical goods vehicles.
- Currently, electric HGVs weigh up to 12 tonnes and can travel at more than 50mph. It is foreseeable that these vehicles will become more abundant, and that advances in technology will allow electric vehicles of more than 12 tonnes to become commercially available.
- Prior to 2014, electric goods vehicles were not required to be type approved so have varying designs and specifications. In particular, traditional milk floats are not suitable
for standard goods vehicle testing, so we do not wish to bring these into the testing regime.
- No significant issues relating to testing other electric vehicles were identified by respondents to the consultation. We will remove the exemption from testing for electrically propelled motor vehicles registered since 1 March 2015.
- Removing the exemption now while this market is young will remove an ongoing imbalance between electric and fossil fuel powered vehicles, and prevent a larger impact if the exemption were removed in the future.
- These are normal HGV tractor units, only exempt from testing because the trailers they are towing are exempt. These trailers are either living vans, health/educational vehicles discussed below or over-run braked trailers.
- No significant issues relating to testing these vehicles were identified by respondents to the consultation. They can be tested in the same way as all other HGV tractor units.
- The exemption from testing for tractor units pulling exempt trailers will be removed where they are based on an HGV chassis.
- Motor tractors and locomotives are heavy vehicles that can move goods or other loads, but the weight of these loads is not imposed on the motor tractor or locomotive itself. Section 186 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 states that appliances and apparatus permanently fixed to the vehicle are not considered a load; this includes, for example, cranes fitted onto HGV chassis.
- Motor tractors and heavy and light locomotives are not currently defined as in scope of the goods vehicle testing. We wish to avoid the unintended consequence of the vehicles that are being brought into testing here being exempted under another means, and so we propose to include motor tractors and locomotives into the scope of annual roadworthiness testing. The consultation recognised that showman’s vehicles used to tow fairground equipment/rides are often considered motor tractors or locomotives. These have been considered separately, below.
- The majority of respondents thought it was appropriate to remove the exemption in the interests of road safety. However, as with other special vehicles, some respondents were concerned whether some of these would fit into test centres or be suitable for normal HGV testing methods.
- Motor tractors and heavy and light locomotives that are based on an HGV chassis will be brought into the scope of testing. Operators of unusual or modified designs need to ensure that they choose a suitable ATF that is able to accommodate their particular vehicle. Exceptionally, if a locomotive is oversized or overweight, DVSA can test this vehicle outside an ATF.
- These are vehicles constructed or adapted for, and used primarily for the purpose of, medical, dental, veterinary, health, educational, display, clerical or experimental laboratory services.
- Although no significant issues where raised by respondents to the consultation, on further consideration, we do not consider that it is proportionate to make these vehicles subject to testing. We understand that the numbers of these vehicles and their mileages are small and they do not operate in the same way as typical HGVs or other specialised heavy vehicles.
- We have decided not to remove the exemption for these vehicles.
- These are vehicles which are authorised for use on the road despite not being compliant with all of the normal vehicle regulations, usually due to excess length, width or weight. There are two types of order which allows their use on the road:
- Vehicle Specific Orders (VSO) made by the Secretary of State, which applies to individual vehicles
- The Road Vehicles (Authorisation of Special Types) General Order 2003 (STGO) which authorises classes of vehicle which may be used on the road.
- The orders also set conditions for the vehicle’s use such as reduced speed limits and requirements to notify authorities of journeys.
- VSO vehicles are generally highly specialised, non-conventional vehicles and includes trial vehicles. STGO vehicles are HGVs used for abnormal (oversized or overweight) loads, or overweight mobile cranes, engineering plant or breakdown vehicles.
- The consultation proposed removing exemptions for these vehicles based on a normal HGV chassis, while leaving in place exemptions for vehicles of genuinely special type.
- Respondents generally supported removing the exemption but pointed out that many of the vehicles would not fit into ATFs, or would be too heavy.
- Following consultation, and on further consideration, we will not remove the general exemption for vehicles currently operated on section 44 orders. However, we intend to change the legislation so that the relevant orders (either for specific vehicles with VSOs or for classes of vehicles covered by STGO) in the future could include the condition that the vehicle(s) must undergo annual roadworthiness testing.
- It is worth noting that many of these vehicles are subject to Operator Licensing, and are required to undergo routine maintenance and servicing as part of this regime.
- These are vehicles used for shows or fairs, usually comprising of HGV chassis’ with fixed rides or shows. There are established categories of vehicle for the purposes of vehicle excise duty (VED) (but not currently for testing) as either ‘showman’s goods vehicle’ or ‘showman’s vehicle’:
- “showman’s goods vehicle” means a showman’s vehicle which— (a) is a goods vehicle, and
(b) is permanently fitted with a living van or some other special type of body or superstructure forming part of the equipment of the show of the person in whose name the vehicle is registered under this Act ii. “showman’s vehicle” means a vehicle—
- registered under this Act in the name of a person following the business of a travelling showman, and
- used solely by him for the purposes of his business and for no other purpose
- Typically these vehicles have been exempted from testing as either motor tractors/locomotives, plant or living vans. With the removal of these exemptions, showman’s vehicles would also become subject to testing.
- The consultation received responses from people operating showman’s vehicles. Showman’s vehicles have features distinct to this class of vehicle which makes them difficult to test: they are often oversized and may not fit into many ATFs, and consultation responses stated that the process of testing could damage the attached rides/shows. The vehicles also often travel in convoy and generally have low mileage compared with other heavy vehicles, limiting the potential road safety risk they pose.
- We will introduce an exemption for showman’s vehicles and showman’s goods vehicles. The exemptions will match the existing VED categories.
- Volumetric concrete mixers (VCMs) are vehicles used to deliver concrete that is mixed on-site. The consultation document asked specific questions about whether VCMs should be permitted to exceed the standard 32 tonne weight limit for vehicles of their design.
- Consultation responses were split between those who stated restricting VCM weights would increase their operating costs disproportionately, and others who thought they should be treated like all other HGVs. The Department has been in discussion with interested parties to identify a way forward on this issue, which will be communicated in due course. Until this is concluded, VCMs will be required to undergo roadworthiness testing, but will not be required to be plated.
- Operator licensing is another means by which regulations ensure vehicles are operated safely and responsibly. It also allows for enforcement and penalties for those who do not comply with these requirements. Many of the vehicles affected by these changes are likely to be subject to the operator licensing regime, which provides a further safeguard for their safe use.
- In parallel to this consultation, the Department consulted on removing the exemptions for some of these vehicle types from operator licensing. A response to that consultation will follow later this year.
- Although we have not removed all of the exemptions from testing that were considered at consultation, the Department wishes to remind vehicle owners that they have a legal responsibility to ensure that their vehicles are roadworthy at all times. In addition, the Department encourages voluntary testing of vehicles that will remain exempt from statutory testing, and supports the ongoing initiatives of certain industry bodies to develop such schemes.
SUPPORTING THE INDUSTRY
ADVICE FOR RECOVERY OPERATORS
30. August 2017
German crane rental and recovery company Autohaus Kreuzburg has taken delivery of a 60 tonne Liebherr LTM 1060-3.1 All Terrain crane.
The three axle LTM 1060-3.1 features a five section 48 metre main boom and a 16 metre bi-fold swingaway extension, providing a maximum tip height of 67 metres and a maximum radius of 48 metres.
Established in the 1970’s, Kreuzburg has a workforce of around 25 at three locations. The company focuses on breakdown, recovery and towing services for cars, trucks and buses, whilst its crane fleet ranges from capacities of 10 to 100 tonnes. The new crane replaces a 45 tonne LTM 1045-3.1 All Terrain, which was used for the truck recovery side of the business.
Managing director Detlef Tillmann said: “The compact size and versatility of the LTM 1060-3.1 and its VarioBase variable support base were the deciding factors. VarioBase is particularly helpful for recovering trucks and industrial relocation projects. Our company provides all-round breakdown and towing services using the appropriate equipment.”
SUPPORTING THE INDUSTRY
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.
SUPPORTING THE INDUSTRY
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.
SUPPORTING THE INDUSTRY
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 [email protected]
The consultation ends 18 December 2016.
To find out more and have your say, visit tfl.gov.uk/airquality-consultation
Have a good weekend.
SUPPORTING THE INDUSTRY
SUPPORTING THE INDUSTRY
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.
SUPPORTING THE INDUSTRY
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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