Non-UK registered HGV offences on the increase

More foreign operators and drivers were found to be committing traffic offences last year, while roadworthiness standards for UK and non-UK registered trucks stopped in random checks improved.

According to the DVSA’s latest fleet compliance check report, the number of UK-registered vehicles issued with a prohibition for a mechanical defect, as a percentage of those checked, fell from 10.2% to 9.3% in the year to April 2015. The number of vehicles stopped at the roadside and checked dropped to 2,575 from 2,694, in the period.

The prohibition rate for domestic trailers fell from 12.5% to 9.8% in the same period, while the number checked decreased from 1,441 to 1,375.

Roadworthiness standards for non-UK registered trucks have improved. The vehicle prohibition rate fell from 17.7% in 2013/14 to 15% in 2014/15, and prohibitions issued for trailer defects dropped from 22.5% to 20.9%. The number of checks reduced to 2,534 from 2,660.

However, the number of non-UK vehicles sanctioned for traffic offences, such as breaches to drivers’ hours and tachograph rules, rose from 13.8% of the 2,682 checked in 2013/14, to 16.3% of the 2,574 checked in 2014/15. The DVSA said this was due to the HGV Road User Levy introduced in April 2014.

The traffic offence rate for domestic vehicles dropped from 9.5% on 2,703 checks to 8.1% on 2,581 checks. The percentage of non-UK vehicles issued with a warning for a traffic offence dropped to 1.4% from 2.5%. For UK-registered trucks, 2.2% received a warning.

DVSA head of enforcement Gordon MacDonald said: “The DVSA takes the safety of all road users seriously. These results are encouraging and show that the majority of drivers and operators are following the rules and playing their part in making roads safer.

“Anyone who fails to meet the standards or comply with the rules is putting themselves and other road users at risk and faces prosecution.”

Earlier this month the government set out plans for changing the way the DVSA’s enforcement activities are funded (CM 19 November).

Alleged cartel investigation continues

Investigations into an alleged cartel involving truck manufacturers continue, more than a year after the European Commission (EC) first said it suspected anti-competitive behaviour.

In November 2014, truck makers including Volvo, Daf, MAN, Daimler and Scania confirmed that they had received a statement of objections from the EC.

The EC said it had “concerns that certain heavy- and medium-duty truck producers may have agreed or co-ordinated their pricing behaviour in the European Economic Area”.

The statement of objections is a formal step in EC investigations into suspected violations of EU anti-trust rules. The addressees can examine the documents in the investigation file, reply in writing and request an oral hearing.

If the EC concludes that there is sufficient evidence of an infringement, then it can issue a decision prohibiting the conduct and impose a fine of up to 10% of a company’s annual worldwide turnover.