Science of compliance

Just as the arrival of digital tachographs accelerated the use of on-line bureau services, the rapid growth of contract maintenance has prompted commercial vehicle manufacturers to develop their own compliance tools in conjunction with dealers.

These typically involve the remote storage of a customer’s vehicle maintenance data on a central server, viewable down-the-line via the internet, with passwords and logins ensuring that only authorised users can access the data.

Available data can range from a simple pdf copy of a service worksheet, e-mailed to the operator when the job’s done, to complete fleet service records including annual tests and driver defect reports and remedial actions, all held on the truck makers' or dealers’ server.

For the record, maintenance records must be kept for a minimum of 15 months, although traffic commissioners can insist on longer periods as part of an individual operator’s undertakings.
The sophistication of such on-line tools looks set to rise even further.

In support of its latest FH, Volvo has developed a new telematics gateway that remotely links the truck to a workshop, allowing its service condition to be monitored in real-time, out on the road.

As the workshop is continuously advised of the wear of key components, servicing can be better targeted, and more timely, not least when it’s a safety-related item.

Likewise, current compliance-friendly systems provided by MAN focus on safety - such as forward-facing cameras - speeding, incident data recorders like accident black boxes and safety league tables, "all of which are of great interest to Vosa”, says the manufacturer.

Brian Weatherley will examine the topic in an article that will appear in the 28 February issue of Commercial Motor.

Weight restrictions will not force hauliers to use A14 toll road, says transport minister

Hauliers will not be forced to use a toll road on the A14 through the imposition of weight restrictions on neighbouring roads, according to transport minister Stephen Hammond.

He was speaking at a meeting in Suffolk to allay concerns of local businesses about plans to charge drivers on the important artery in east England.

Tolling up to 20 miles of the A14 would help fund a major upgrade of the road, which could begin in 2018 to help ease capacity issues.

Local MP Therese Coffey said: “There are issues concerning proposed tolling that need to be fully thought through and it is important this is not seen as a tax on success nor for Suffolk business to pay for Cambridgeshire commuter congestion.

“The Minister confirmed that he would not be putting blanket weight limit restrictions on other roads to enforce the use of the toll.”

The Freight Transport Association’s head of road network policy, Malcolm Bingham, said it was good to hear this, but added: “Many of the surrounding roads are under the jurisdiction of the local highway authorities and we would like to see some assurances from them that they will not put restrictions on primary routes to force LGVs to use a toll road if one is built.

“The fear that we have is that a toll operator may become an appointed monopoly if suitable alternative routes do not exist,” he said.