FTA welcomes better targeting of truck enforcement on roads in Scotland and Northern Ireland from today

Thursday 31 March 2011

From today non-compliant truck operators on Scotland and Northern Ireland’s roads will be more effectively targeted at the roadside by enforcement agents who have been granted similar stopping powers to those in England and Wales.

New measures mean that Vehicle & Operator Services Agency (VOSA) officers in Scotland and Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA) officers in Northern Ireland can now stop commercial vehicles without police accompaniment. In Scotland, this will allow them to use Operator Compliance Risk Score (OCRS) data to better inform their routine checks of roadworthiness, drivers’ hours, documentation and overloading, rather than responding only to observed evidence on the road.

The leading trade body has long been a strong supporter of affording enforcement officers greater powers to stop commercial vehicles. James Firth, FTA’s Head of Road Freight and Enforcement Policy, said:

“This is something that our members across Great Britain and Northern Ireland have been very keen to see enacted as it will better enable enforcement agencies to remove unsafe trucks from the road more efficiently with the added benefit of using OCRS data in Scotland to target higher risk operators. It is simply a better use of time and resources, and will free-up police time too.”

Notes for editors

The Department for Transport (DfT) consulted in June last year on proposals to streamline Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) officers’ Powers to Stop across England and Wales and extend these powers to Scotland and to DVA (Driver and Vehicle Agency) in Northern Ireland so that roadside vehicle examiners’ powers will be common and more efficient across the United Kingdom. Key elements to the changes are:

Streamlining Powers to Stop accreditation process Accreditation powers will reside within VOSA and DVA. Officers will still be subject to the same rigorous training which includes undertaking police advanced driving and clear instruction on the limits of their powers; chiefly that stopping officers are not able to pursue suspect vehicles nor exceed the speed limit.

Extension of powers in England and Wales to allow VOSA officers to stop a commercial vehicle for reasons beyond routine roadworthiness VOSA officers will now be allowed to stop a vehicle at the roadside in order to make a routine check of drivers’ hours compliance, overloading or paperwork without having to first undertake an assessment of the mechanical condition as is the case now.

Extension of powers to stop to Scotland This will end the need for police in Scotland to stop commercial vehicles on VOSA’s behalf. VOSA officers will be able to stop vehicles to undertake routine checks of roadworthiness, drivers’ hours, documentation and overloading, rather than responding only to observed evidence on the road.

Extension of powers to stop to DVA officers in Northern Ireland DVA officers already have some powers to stop commercial vehicles to make mechanical condition checks, but they are not as wide-ranging as EU legislation requires. The changes will bring these powers to the same level as England and Wales, thereby standardising the powers across the United Kingdom.

The changes also introduce three new offences:

  • Impersonation of a VOSA or DVA stopping officer. This offence would carry a penalty of a fine not exceeding level 5 (£5,000) on summary conviction, or on indictment, imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 months
  • Obstructing a VOSA stopping officer. Level 3 (£1,000) fine or minimum 1 month prison term
  • Failing to stop for a VOSA stopping officer. Level 3 fine 

FTA Press Office

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