Peer's Bill which would enable illegally-operated heavy goods
vehicles to be impounded and improve the enforcement of the rules on
to impound HGVs found to be operating illegally without an operator's
licence. Also, drivers of coaches and trucks found to be in breach of
drivers' hours regulations would have to take the necessary break or
rest period before continuing their journey.
Welcoming the Bill on impounding, Lord Whitty said:
'British truckers deserve better protection from illegal operators
who compete unfairly with the great majority of law-abiding hauliers
and flout safety and environmental standards.
'This Bill seeks to achieve the objectives of the detention scheme
announced in our White Paper. It is also widely supported by the vast
majority of road hauliers themselves. That is why I welcome this
'Impounding illegally-operated HGVs would provide the first truly
effective sanction against unlicensed operators by preventing them
from continuing to operate. It would also serve as a deterrent to
discourage other hauliers from ignoring the laws on the licensing of
operators of goods vehicles.'
Earl Attlee introduced the Road Traffic (Enforcement Powers) Bill in
the house of lords on 8 June.
A consultation exercise carried out by the DETR last year showed that
there was overwhelming support for an impounding scheme. It was
therefore included as a commitment in the government's White Paper on
the future of transport.
Turning to drivers' hours, Lord Whitty said:
'Drivers' hours regulations are there to protect the safety of
drivers, passengers and other road users. However, there is no
specific power to prohibit drivers who exceed drivers' hours from
continuing their journey.
'Ensuring drivers take their legally required breaks before
continuing their journey should mean safer journeys for all.'
Powers to prohibit drivers from continuing their journey once they
have exceeded their legal maximum exist only for foreign-registered
vehicles. The proposals within this Bill will end the anomaly between
foreign and UK-registered vehicles.
1. All commercial operators of goods vehicles over 3.5 gross weight
must have an operator's licence. In order to obtain a licence they
must show that they have sufficient finances and maintenance
facilities to ensure that their vehicles are run in a safe condition
and that their operating centre is suitable for the local
environment. Professional road haulage operators also have to hold a
qualification of professional competence.
2. Roadside surveys carried out by the Vehicle Inspectorate in 1995
and in 1997 have shown that up to 2 per cent of HGVs are operating illegally. They have also indicated that illegally-operated vehicles are twice as likely as legitimately run lorries to have a dangerous roadworthiness defect.
3. The consultation exercise on the government's proposed scheme for
the detention or impounding of illegally-operated HGVs was launched
last year on 25 February and ended in May.