All new HGVs to require sideguards under DfT proposal to improve road safety

The government is planning to outlaw the removal of sideguards and rear under-run devices on HGVs as part of its drive to reduce cyclists’ deaths across the UK.

The plan is contained in the DfT’s British Road Safety Statement (BRSS) published yesterday, which also proposes doubling the fine for HGV drivers using mobiles whilst driving.

The move to make sideguards and rear under-run devices compulsory on HGVs is modelled on the Safer Lorry Scheme, which was introduced in London in September.

Some heavy plant and construction vehicles currently have an exemption from running with sideguards in order to access off-road sites.

CM understands that this will only apply to newly registered HGVs and will not be mandated on existing models making use of the current exemption.

A DfT spokesman said: "The proposal is that vehicle fitted with sideguards and under run devices  for the purpose of their approval and registration when new, will be required to retain and maintain the sideguards."

However, the BRSS states: “Our efforts to improve occupational road safety will maintain a strong focus on how to reduce deaths, including cyclist deaths, caused by HGVs.“

"We will consult on legislative changes to ensure that sideguards and rear under-run devices, which are required for new vehicle approval, remain fitted to HGVs throughout their life and are not removed.”

The BRSS also includes confirmation that the long awaited HGV platooning trials will take place next year, although it stops short of naming a date.

Last month CM revealed that UK trials of driverless HGVs in platoons would begin next year in the UK, starting on a testing track before moving onto the roads.

The paper states: “We are planning trials of HGV platoons to investigate their potential use on the UK infrastructure and their effects on UK traffic.

"We expect that these trials, which will be conducted in conjunction with Highways England, vehicle manufacturers and the haulage industry, will commence in 2016.”

The consultation is planned for 2016.