Be prepared for stricter sideguards checks with FTA guide

Thursday 01 April 2010

From May this year vehicle sideguards will be subject to stricter compliance checks during annual testing. A new compliance guide by the Freight Transport Association (FTA) will ensure vehicle operators are fully prepared for the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency’s (VOSA) amended requirements.

Following intervention by FTA, the introduction of stricter sideguards checks, originally announced in 2007, was deferred due to suspected difficulties some vehicle operators would have had in complying with the stricter rules.

Andy Mair, FTA’s Head of Engineering Policy, said:

“The concessions FTA has achieved will be of immense benefit to operators who would otherwise have had found it impossible to comply with the rules. We now have a sensible, workable set of requirements which will enable every operator to comply, regardless of their vehicle’s configuration, whilst keeping safety considerations paramount.”

The FTA Sideguards compliance guide gives full details of the existing legislation regarding vehicle sideguards and the changes to the annual test requirements which will be implemented from 1 May, plus details of general sideguard construction requirements.

The main technical changes which have been agreed include:

A concession for vehicles with cranes which have access and operating platforms;

A concession for vehicles where it is technically not possible to fully comply with dimensional requirements (such as folding cranes stowed behind cabs in the sideguard area);

Acceptance of sideguards constructed to the technical requirements of EC Directive 89/297/EEC (EC Directive standards require a lower top rail height than Construction & Use, which is beneficial to crane and tanker operators).

The FTA Sideguards compliance guide is available to FTA members by emailing

Notes for editors

In the UK sideguards have been a legal requirement on certain large goods vehicles and trailers since the 1980s and compliance checks are included as part of the statutory annual roadworthiness test. In 2007 VOSA gave notice of its intention to introduce stricter compliance checks on sideguards. This created an issue for operators who had vehicles which had entered into service with non-compliant sideguards which would have required immediate rectification. Those particularly affected were short bodied vehicles with cranes mounted behind the cab. Following intervention by FTA the introduction of full compliance checks on sideguards was deferred pending further consultation. As a result of agreements reached during consultation with FTA, VOSA will introduce full compliance checks on sideguards from 1 May 2010, having introduced revised requirements for certain vehicle types.

A review copy of the FTA Sideguards compliance guide is available to the press by emailing


FTA Press Office

01892 552255