Commercial Motor

Police warn North Yorkshire hauliers after truck is stolen

North Yorkshire Police are urging hauliers to keep their vehicles properly secured overnight after a truck was stolen in Leyburn earlier this week.

The Scania truck with a curtainsided trailer was taken from Moor Road, sometime overnight between Monday 12 August and Tuesday 13 August.

A spokesman for North Yorkshire Police was unable to confirm which company operated the truck and hauliers in the area seemed unaware that the theft had taken place.

Police have advised that vehicles are kept in locked compounds when not in use and are fitted with GPS or tracking devices, enabling operators to locate vehicles if they are stolen.

Sergeant Nick Hill of North Yorkshire Police said: "In the current financial climate firms can ill-afford to lose any of their assets and I am urging business owners to ensure that security is high on their agenda."

Anyone with information about the theft is being urged to call police on 101, quoting reference number 12130138432, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Out Now: Commercial Motor 15 August

How much will Euro-6 trucks cost to buy, to run and to sell? What does Daf Trucks’ design director think trucks will look like in 2020? These are some of the questions being asked in this week’s Commercial Motor magazine, out today (15 August).

This week's issue also includes:

  • CM gets a glimpse at Daf Trucks’ design director Bart van Lotringen’s sketches of what trucks may look like in the future.
  • Workplace pensions: Within two years, all employers must offer a workplace pension- but how will hauliers meet the additional cost?
  • Top 10 tips for boosting your business using Facebook.
  • What will the opening of the London Gateway mean for hauliers? CM investigates.
  • What’s on at Commercial Motor Live this year?
  • The latest legal cases: a loading shovel driver receives a suspended prison sentence after he reversed and crushed a truck driver.
  • The latest industry news: mechanics are granted an exemption from the Driver CPC legislation, Northern Ireland’s haulage regulator Donald Armstrong warns that he will not hesitate to revoke O-licences and disqualify non-compliant operators and an Essex police chief calls for drivers using mobile phones to be sacked.

All this plus much more, including over 1,000 used truck and trailer deals, only in this week’s Commercial Motor magazine (15 August). Pick yours up at a newsagent or MSA today, or subscribe to receive a discount.

Trailer warning for traction operators

Simon Evans, deputy traffic commissioner (TC) for the North West, has warned traction hauliers pulling another firm’s trailer that they are putting their O-licence at risk if they fail to ensure that the trailer is fit and serviceable.

In a written decision following a June public inquiry in Warrington, the deputy TC issued a formal warning to Morecambe-based JM Gorry & Son, which specialises in traction-only haulage mainly for blue chip businesses. A Vosa vehicle examiner concluded a maintenance inquiry into the firm in January, which discovered that since 2008 there had been 36 prohibitions issued to vehicles and trailers used by the firm - 24 of them to trailers. Some of the defects leading to prohibitions - including an S-marked prohibition to a trailer - were brake related.

MD John Gorry and his son, director Shaun, who also act as the joint transport managers, told the deputy TC about the responsibility the company takes on when it hauls trailers belonging to customers. Typically the firm picks up trailers at a variety of ports, there is no advance notice or previous confirmation by the customer of the identity of the particular trailer, and the trailer and load are then transported and dropped. As many as 300 trailers can be hauled in a week for four main customers.

John told the TC that he had taken up the question of the S-marked prohibition with his opposite number at the trailer supplier to express his concerns that an issue he felt was undetectable by his driver at a first use check had resulted in a serious prohibition. He added that the firm had the support of the Road Haulage Association (RHA) in its attempts to place a greater level of responsibility on trailer owners for the condition of their trailer.

However, the TC told the firm that it was the responsibility of traction-only operators to provide themselves with “satisfactory levels of assurance” about the checks carried out by trailer owners.
He said: “The principal responsibility is on the operator providing the traction to ensure that both the tractor unit and the trailer are fit and that the risk will be to his licence if there are issues. This is a long-established principle and is [an] issue that must not be compromised. If [the operator] cannot be satisfied about the arrangements that the trailer owner has in place, it will be necessary for him to cease to act for that client.”

Robinsons of Worcester appeals against planning committee’s access decision

A Worcestershire haulier is appealing against a local planning committee’s decision against a new access route to its yard, blaming a lack of understanding about the industry for the decision.

Bulk and agricultural haulier Robinsons of Worcester first submitted the application to convert two barns into offices in January, which was approved by Wychavon District Council’s planning committee in March.

However, the firm submitted a second version of the plans, which included developing a new vehicle access route onto St Peters Lane in Besford, in June. The access plans were last month thrown out by the council as it deemed the road to be unsuitable for LGVs, despite the operator’s claims that it had successfully operated in and out of the site "for years".

Director Edward Robinson claims that the business received planning permission and authorisation from Vosa to run its 11 trucks and 15 trailers out of the site 12 years ago. He is now appealing against the committee’s decision.

“The local council does not understand our business and the industry we operate in,” Robinson said. “We are still continuing to operate out of the site as we always have done and Vosa are happy with our operation.

“About 14 members of the planning committee had stories about their horrific experiences with trucks. We’re just trying to keep our 40 employees in work.”

Wychavon District Council’s decision document said the parish council had no objections to the development other than the adjacent access and the roadway into St Peters Lane.

Vehicle dealers wary of Block Exemption change

Dealers fear they may be forced to invest to meet Block Exemption Regulation (BER) changes by the European Commission, placing greater control in the hands of the manufacturers.

The two most significant changes that came into effect on 1 June to BER 330/2010 require franchised dealers to purchase higher quotas of CVs from the manufacturer, and allow manufacturers to demand that a multi franchise dealer separates its point-of-sale into solus dealerships.

Several single-franchise and multi-franchise dealers, who did not want to be named, felt the changes could force them to needlessly invest in more stock and premises if manufacturers exercised their new powers.

Derek Brinklow, the network development director for Renault Trucks UK, said the manufacturer won’t encourage its affected dealers to become solus (aligned to a single manufacturer), but added that any future dealer growth plans, “which could have included provision for multi-franchising, will need more serious consideration”.

One of the fastest-growing dealer networks belongs to Isuzu Truck (UK), and several dealerships it has brought in have franchises with other manufacturers.

Marketing director Keith Child believes the company is “reasonably relaxed about the changes”, but concedes that forcing dealers to separate brands will stifle competition.

He said: “This will make it difficult and expensive for new brands that are going to try and enter the UK marketplace.”

  • CM has a more in-depth look at the effect of BER changes in the 22 August issue.


Confront roads issues at national and local level - RHA

Confront roads issues at national and local level - RHA

RHA comments on MPs’ report on VOSA

RHA comments on MPs’ report on VOSA

Commercial Vehicle Show 2014 – Summer take-off

Commercial Vehicle Show 2014 – Summer take-off

Fuel rebate for All says Road Haulage Association

Fuel rebate for All says Road Haulage Association

Driver CPC and technicians – DfT confirms that rule will be changed

Driver CPC and technicians – DfT confirms that rule will be changed


Van Excellence conference heads to Scotland

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) Van Excellence Conference is heading to Scotland in October, 2013. ...

FTA Ireland calls for immediate action to combat illegal diesel

The Freight Transport Association Ireland (FTAI) has called on the government to take immediate action in order to combat the issue which has ...

Sense at last minute on Driver CPC for mechanics – says FTA

“A bit late, but the right decision in the end” – that’s the view of leading industry trade body, the Freight Transport Association (FTA) in ...

VOSA talks to industry at FTA Transport Manager 2013

Transport managers will be kept up-to-date with the latest information from the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) when they attend the ...

Take advantage of the toll holiday says FTA Ireland

Following the announcement that there is to be a one-month 'toll holiday' for heavy goods vehicles in November 2013, the Freight Transport ...


Mercedes-Benz Sprinters give IP Fork Trucks a lift

Ten years of reliable and cost-effective performance from its previous Mercedes-Benz Sprinters led Cheshire-based IP Fork Trucks back to Stoke-on-Trent dealer Enza for its latest new vans.

Both are Medium-length, high-roof 313CDI BlueEFFICIENCY models, incorporating a host of standard features designed to boost fuel efficiency and thereby reduce exhaust emissions.

Among these is ECO-Start, the innovative system which cuts the engine whenever a vehicle is stationary – for example, in heavy traffic – then automatically re-starts it when the driver is ready to move off and depresses the clutch. Others include low rolling resistance tyres, and efficiency improvements to items like the power steering system, fuel pump and battery management.

The two new vans are the subject of a CharterWay contract hire arrangement from Mercedes-Benz Financial Services.

Mark Isherwood, Managing Director of Sandbach-based IP Fork Trucks, said: “Since buying our first Sprinter a decade ago we’ve tried several other makes and models, but none has come close to the Mercedes-Benz in terms of reliability.

“We supply fork trucks and plant equipment to customers over much of the country, so our mobile service engineers rack up a lot of miles. It’s vital, therefore, that their vans are dependable.

“We also need to know that we have a safety net in the unlikely event of anything going wrong. Enza and its fellow dealers in the Mercedes-Benz network provide top-quality back-up.”

He continued: “The Sprinter is also the safest and most comfortable vehicle in its class, which is another important feature, as well as being smart and stylish – the Mercedes-Benz brand portrays a professional image which accurately reflects the high levels of customer service that we provide.”

Roadlink International Ltd Commercial Vehicle (CV) Parts Supplier of Excellence

For the third time in the 14 years of the award, West Midlands based truck components distributor Roadlink International Ltd has just scooped the prestigious CV Supplier of Excellence Award for 2012 from the automotive industry’s Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF). Voted for annually by IAAF members and judged by a special industry panel, the coveted award was presented by the Federation’s President, Nick Best to Roadlink’s  joint managing directors  Helen Arthur and Keith Sedgley, at the IAAF’s 2012 dinner and award ceremony recently held at Birmingham’s Hilton Metropole Hotel.

The award is the most prestigious in the UK CV aftermarket, and recognises the top IAAF member company in the highly competitive commercial vehicle aftermarket, delivering excellence in customer service. Roadlink has already received the accolade on two previous occasions, which chairman David Sedgley feels demonstrates this independent distribution company’s commitment to maintaining long standing relationships with its customers and suppliers alike.

Roadlink currently employs over 60 staff at its sales, distribution and remanufacturing site in Willenhall and its southern England depot based in Sittingbourne, Kent.  An Investor in People Company since 2000, Roadlink applies IiP principles to continuously train and develop team members to generate the high levels of customer service for which it is renowned. The company’s specialist product range is constantly being developed in response to customer feedback – one important recent initiative being the further widening of its extensive range of remanufactured disc brake calipers for commercial vehicles.

Continental Tyres reports a challenging year but a positive outlook

“Challenging” is how Arthur Gregg of Continental Tyres described the commercial vehicle tyre market in the UK and Ireland in a 2012 year end review.

At the same time he paints a positive picture of fleet operators adjusting to tough economic times and of a company that continues to develop and introduce exciting new products in line with the many changes going on in the market.

Mr Gregg said that in terms of new commercial vehicle registrations both the UK and Irish markets broadly paralled each other. At year end the UK figures will show a drop in overall registrations of around 3.0% and in Ireland of just over 1.0%. Registrations of light commercials will show the biggest fall, down by 6.5% in the UK and around 2.6% in Ireland.

The picture is different, however, for vehicles over 3.5 tonnes and for heavy trucks and buses. Sales of 16 tonne plus trucks continued to grow strongly throughout the year in both markets but there was an even better performance in the bus and coach sector with UK registrations up by over 50% and in Ireland by an impressive 161.3%.

Recessionary pressures are also reported to be continuing to have a significant impact on the replacement tyre market. In the UK the market is forecast to fall by around 14% in 2012 compared to last year but the Irish market has fared rather better and is expected to end on a similar level to the previous year.

Whilst the market for new replacement tyres continues to slow down year on year, the retread market is holding strong. As fleet operators try to cut costs where they can, retread tyres are fast becoming the tyre of choice for economic reasons and Continental has seen significant growth in its sales, which are up over 12% in 2012.

“Our response on retreads includes the introduction of new sizes and patterns over the course of 2012 so that we now have a comprehensive line-up that includes Long Distance, Regional, Construction, Winter and Hybrid tyres in a wide selection of sizes to mirror our new tyre line-up,” explains Arthur Gregg.

“The benefits for fleets are clear to see,” he adds. “ContiRe tyres provide 90% of the mileage that a new tyre provides at only 70% of the cost. And there is a further and significant environmental benefit with a saving of 80% on raw materials used in the production of the tyre, which is a shining badge for any environmentally conscious haulier.”

As a result of these growing sales and stable market conditions, Continental is investing ten million Euros in a new truck and bus retread tyre plant in Hanover. This facility, due to come on stream late next year, is unique in the way it takes the used rubber which is buffed off the tyres in preparation for retreading and recycles it in the production of new and retread tyres.

Looking ahead into 2013, Mr Gregg said that Continental would be launching a new range of bus and coach tyres at the UK Commercial Vehicle Show in April. These tyres will be engineered for three specific segments: Conti Coach for long distance coach travel, with tyres that offer low rolling resistance and high mileage; Conti CityPlus for regional operations between towns and cities; and Conti Urban for city use with its continuous braking and acceleration.

Also to be launched onto the UK market at the NEC in April will be ContiPressureCheck – a Tyre Pressure Monitoring System. This is a direct measurement system with sensors mounted inside the tyre to constantly monitor changes in tyre pressure and temperature. It delivers a warning to the driver via a display in the cab, enabling corrective action to be taken before a failure occurs.

Summarising the year, Mr Greg said: “Whilst 2012 was not without its challenges, I feel that we are in a strong position as we move into 2013. We have adjusted to the changing needs of the market, for example by responding to the growing demand for retread tyres. We continue to introduce products to meet specific applications, such as our new bus and coach range. And with our ContiPressureCheck we are demonstrating our total commitment to tyre safety and optimum performance.”

Dedicated hotline to deliver competitive, customer focused parts service

From 4th February 2013, transport operators in the Hayes, Enfield, Barking, Didcot, Basingstoke, Croydon, Milton Keynes, Radlett and Bedford areas will be able to order competitively priced Genuine Volvo Truck, Bus, Coach and Roadcrew All Makes Truck and Trailer parts via a dedicated telephone ’hotline’ being set up by Volvo Truck and Bus Centre London.

Callers will be able to access the new speedy service via the, soon to be announced, dedicated 0845 number. Customers calling the hotline will be taken through to a new Retail Sales Centre where calls will be charged at local rates.

Volvo Truck and Bus Centre London Aftermarket Director Martin Taylor reports that setting up the Retail Sales Centre is an essential part of the Dealership’s commitment to delivering the optimum customer experience. ”This is a ground-breaking aftermarket initiative by Volvo London. We are fully committed to its success and have made significant investment in systems and support to ensure that all calls are answered quickly and efficiently, thus delivering the best customer service for all Truck, Coach, Bus and Trailer parts in our region..”

”Sales Advisors and field based Parts Sales Executives from within our existing, highly skilled parts teams will move into the Retail Sales Centre,” says Martin Taylor: ”Thus ensuring that we have the same real understanding of our customers’ business requirements and providing them with the high level of expertise and product knowledge which they expect when dealing with Volvo Truck and Bus Centre London.”
Volvo Truck and Bus Centre London Regional Parts Manager Ginette Lee has been a key member of the team setting set up the new Retail Sales Centre. She is certain that it will become an extremely popular service with transport operators as the team will be able to offer consistency in pricing and the first class customer service that Volvo London promises to deliver. ”With just one 0845, local call rate phone number and a dedicated, highly experienced parts team taking the calls, customers will find it a very convenient, competitively priced one stop service for all of their Volvo Truck, Bus, Coach and Roadcrew All Makes Truck and Trailer parts,” says Ginette, adding: ”We are making the ordering and delivery process as easy and convenient as possible for our customers and will continue to give them the option of either having parts delivered direct to their premises or to collect from their local Volvo Truck and Bus Centre London Dealerpoint.”

Volvo FH joins motorway Police Operation Mistletoe

Volvo Trucks have supplied an FH 6x2 tractor unit on short term loan to the West Mercia based Central Motorway Police Group (CMPG). The ‘60’ plate FH-460 was sourced from Volvo Trucks’ Used Truck department and took part in ‘Operation Mistletoe’.

The plain white liveried Volvo was used extensively, day and night, on the Midland’s motorway network as an undercover solo tractor unit. Its main job was the monitoring of truck drivers for dangerous and inconsiderate behaviour while at the wheel, including illegally using a mobile phone.

The FH was crewed by two LGV licenced uniformed Police Officers and was supported by several marked patrol cars fitted with ANPR cameras.

 According to West Mercia CMPG Police Constable Angus Nairn, who is an ex-Owner Driver, the key objectives of Operation Mistletoe are to reduce road casualties through education and the use of diversionary courses rather than punishment.

Police Officers can offer drivers who have committed minor lapses in attention, the option of attendance at a diversionary course, instead of receiving penalty points on their licence, in addition to the mandatory £60 to £80 fines.


Pioneering legend launches Palletways Platinum Club

British explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes helped Palletways to launch a new initiative to reward its members for continuously enhancing their customer service performance at its annual summer conference. The Palletways Platinum Club is a scheme designed to reward only the best network members for excellence in performance, commitment and compliance. Only 12 of Palletways 106 UK members have been selected to join the Platinum Club and their selection shows their continuous commitment to providing the highest levels of service to their customers. The inaugural Platinum Club members are: Authur Oakley Transport Ltd; Gilbraith Transport Ltd; Hastings Freight Ltd; Jack Richards & Son; Kenyon Road Haulage; Palletways 51; Palletways Birmingham; Reason Transport Ltd; Sovereign Transport Services Ltd; Speed Welshpool; The Pink Link Ltd; and Transland International. Palletways UK Managing Director, Martyn Young, said: “I’d like to thank all the Platinum Club members for their excellent work over the past year and their commitment to our network. Providing customers with a fast, reliable and efficient service is our top priority, and these awards highlight the dedication of our members to meeting the very highest standards”. Palletways is Europe’s largest and fastest growing express palletised freight network. It consists of 300 members across […]

Rebecca embarks on African adventure with Transaid

A graduate from Norbert Dentressangle has swapped the UK for the sweltering heat of Tanzania, on a six month secondment with international development charity, Transaid. Rebecca Smith, 26, who has worked for Norbert Dentressangle for three years, flew out to Dar es Salaam as part of her two-year Fast Track Talent Programme placement with the logistics specialist. Rebecca will be supporting Transaid and Tanzania’s National Institute of Transport (NIT) on a number of initiatives including the Professional Driver Training Project, which promotes the improvement of driver training standards and develops programmes to help enhance driver competence, road safety and the efficient use of commercial vehicles. She will be continuing the work of last year’s graduate Artem Avdeev, who worked with local fleet managers and transport companies to help them understand the benefits their drivers would receive by undertaking the training courses. Rebecca will also be responsible for managing NIT’s training garage, developing revenue sources and running practical courses. “I’m so excited and privileged to be working for such a fantastic organisation. The partnership between Norbert Dentressangle and Transaid is one that is taken very seriously by everyone in my company and I’ll be giving all my colleagues back in the […]

New Volvo Truck UK and Ireland MD

Arne Knaben has been appointed Volvo Trucks’ Managing Director of Volvo Group UK and Ireland. He succeeds Ulf Magnusson who is moving to Gothenburg to become Senior Vice President Volvo Buses, Business Region Europe. Arne will report to Bruno Blin who is Senior Vice President SWE Sales Area, Group Trucks Sales & Marketing EMEA. Currently Arne holds the position of President of Volvo Group Australia. He will take up his new position in the UK on October 1st. He will be based at Volvo Group UK’s headquarters in Warwick. In the interim, Volvo Trucks’ Commercial Truck Director Ian Mitchell has been appointed Acting Managing Director for the period until Arne’s arrival on October 1st. Arne was born in 1958 in Norway. He graduated from Agder Ingeniør og Distriktshøgskole (AID) in Grimstad, Norway with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and Economics. He later undertook post-graduate studies in Industrial Marketing at the University of Linköping, Sweden. He began his Volvo career in 1992 and has held various positions within Sales, Aftersales and Management in Norway, Sweden, India, Denmark and Australia. During the last four years, Arne has been responsible for Volvo Group Australia working with the Volvo, Mack, UD and Renault truck […]

Goodyear survey finds fleets choose tyres on performance

A survey recently commissioned by Goodyear in several European countries revealed that, currently, fleets prefer to make their tyre choice based on tyre performance rather than tyre application. The most important performance area for operators is rolling resistance, which directly influences fuel efficiency. Of the fleets interviewed, 77 per cent classified this as “very important” or “extremely important”. Mileage (76 per cent) and wet grip (75 per cent) classified second and third. Transport has evolved over the last years and there is now a much greater mix of the types of haulage that transport companies are engaged in. In addition to this, operational costs are increasing. The survey showed that 91 per cent of the fleets interviewed predict a further increase in fuel prices and 84 per cent of them expect an increase in other costs as well. That is why they are focusing more than ever on reducing their operational costs, including concentrating on selecting the best tyres for their business model. It is no coincidence, therefore, that 70 per cent of the fleets interviewed claim they already purchase fuel-efficient tyres or that they will start doing so in the near future (21%). This is why Goodyear has developed the […]

Higher fixed penalties on way

Fixed penalty levels will increase from next week, the Department for Transport has confirmed. The changes are being introduced following a public consultation, which took place in 2012 including road safety groups and police services. As well as affecting motoring offences, these changes also increase graduated fixed penalties and financial deposits for vans, trucks and buses. Offences against roadworthiness, loading and drivers’ hours rules will result in higher penalties at the roadside. · a £30 fine will rise to £50 · a £60 fine will rise to £100 · a £120 fine will rise to £200 · a £200 fine will rise to £300 VOSA Chief Executive Alastair Peoples said: “These new penalty levels are intended to ensure penalties reflect the seriousness of the offence and are consistent with those in other areas of offending. I know the majority of operators and drivers work within the law, but those that don’t need to know there are increased financial consequences and they should reconsider if it’s worth the risk.” Increases will also be made to the maximum deposit that we can take at the roadside from offending overseas vehicles. Penalty points will not change.

The Transport Law Blog

The long and winding road

In June, the government pledged it would treble the annual amount of money it ploughs into major road schemes in a bid to get the country’s clogged transport network moving again.

It’s been billed as the biggest programme of investment in Britain’s roads since the 1970s.
Key details of the ambitious plan include creating another 221 miles of managed motorway lanes, making hard shoulders available to traffic during peak times, and a commitment to building Highways Agency projects in the most congested parts of the UK, including the A14 from Cambridge to Huntingdon and the M4 from London to Reading.

In addition, there will be feasibility studies to look for solutions to notorious bottlenecks, such as the A303 to the South West, the A1 north of Newcastle and the trans-Pennine routes between Sheffield and Manchester. More dual carriageways will be constructed and £6bn is to be set aside for local authorities to repair roads, while another £4bn will be allocated to the Highways Agency for resurfacing.

Providing the current government remains in power to see the plans through to the target date of 2020, it all makes for positive reading. But what do the members of Commercial Motor’s Operator Panel think? Read the 15 August issue of CM to find out.

A clean look at safety

When vehicle driver and cleaner Izzy Lloyd stepped out of a bus she had been cleaning into the engineering bay at the Maidstone depot of Arriva Southern Counties in April 2010, she felt a sharp piece of metal pierce her work boot and penetrate her foot.

It may not sound very serious but the metal shard infected her left foot and ankle with necrotising fasciitis - a bacterial infection commonly known as the ‘flesh-eating’ disease. Despite emergency surgery at the time and numerous further medical interventions since, her lower leg had to be amputated in January this year. In a civil case brought since by Lloyd with the support of union Unite against her former employer at the Mayors and City of London County Court, Arriva Southern Counties was deemed liable for the incident under the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992.  The scale of damages has not yet been decided but is expected to be substantial.

If you’re carrying out an activity in one part of a site or building that creates regular mess, it should be kept as separate as possible from everything else, ideally behind closed doors or cordons. As part of all this, it’s obviously important for employers to carry out risk assessments, ensure their staff are trained to recognise the problem and deal with it, and have effective supervision in place to ensure cleaning is actually carried out.  It can also help - though it’s not specifically required by the regulations - to have sign-off sheets in place for staff to confirm they have checked and cleaned any areas of risk on a regular basis.

Robin Meczes will examine the subject in more detail in an article to be published in the 8 August issue of Commercial Motor

Trip to court?

The government has just opened a two-month consultation on its plans to crack down on drug driving, which it believes may contribute to hundreds of road deaths and injuries every year.

Although it is, of course, already an offence to drive while impaired through drink or drugs, a further new offence has been created: driving with a controlled drug in the body above the specified limit. (Section 5A Road Traffic Act 1988)
However, new legislation - The Drug Driving (Specified Limits) (England and Wales) Regulations - will define which drugs are to be covered by the offence and at what legal limits, making it easier for police to secure a conviction simply through proving presence of a drug in the driver's body, above the permitted level.

The penalty will be a maximum fine of £5000 fine and/or six months in prison with a minimum mandatory 12-month driving disqualification - the same penalty as for drink driving. It is the government's plan to divide 17 named drugs into two main groups:

- those where there will be a zero tolerance approach to the limits. This is proposed for eight drugs most associated with illegal use: cannabis, cocaine, benzoylecgonine, LSD, ecstasy, ketamine, methamphetamine and heroin/diamorphine (6-MAM).
- those where there will be a road safety risk approach. This is proposed for eight controlled drugs which have medical uses. An offence will take place where there are levels above normal therapeutic levels. Examples of these drugs are morphine, temazepam, oxazepam, methadone, diazepam.

For a further controlled drug, amphetamine, a limit is not proposed in the consultation and the government is seeking views on what a suitable limit might be, as the drug is used both illegally and legally through medical use. While many hauliers already have internal drink and drugs policies to try to police substance abuse in their businesses, the introduction of this offence will undoubtedly reel in those drivers who do drive with drugs present in their bodies and who may well have gone undetected up until now.

The consultation ends on 17 September. For more information visit


For further details, read the article by Tim Ridyard in the 1 August issue of Commercial Motor.

Rules of engagement

This month, key revisions to employment tribunal rules of procedure will come into force that will have implications for hauliers and their employees due to attend such hearings.

Changes include revised claim and response forms and a new sift stage where one party’s arguments are clearly weak and there will be the power to strike out claims at any stage of proceedings. There are also new rules on preliminary hearings, changes to the costs rules and the amount of costs that a party can receive, and alterations relating to tribunal fees.

The aim of the changes - due to come into effect on 29 July, even if the claim was issued before that date - is to make the tribunal service more consistent and ensure the relevant documents are written in plain, understandable English.
As the new tribunal rules allow employment judges to make an early judgment on claims or responses that have no reasonable prospects of success, it is more important than ever to ensure that hauliers deal with employees in a fair manner.
Hauliers will no longer be able to dismiss an employee unfairly, put in a hopeless defence as a holding position and then negotiate.

It is likely that in these circumstances the tribunal could dismiss that response and move straight to dealing with remedy, with the potential sanction of costs against that haulier. Conversely, where hauliers have followed due process and dismissed employees fairly, the new tribunal rules should allow them to defend unmeritorious claims more cheaply and efficiently than was the case under the previous rules.
For further information read the article by Paul Menham, partner in employment law in DWF’s transport sector group, in the 25 July issue of Commercial Motor.

Drink Danger

Drink-driving accidents have fallen dramatically since the 1970s but despite numerous advertising campaigns it is still a significant problem both within and without the commercial vehicle industry.

According to the Ministry of Justice in 2011, the most recent figures to hand, of 6,972 van and LGV drivers breath-tested in the UK after a road accident 187 people failed - this was up from the corresponding figures of 6,855 and 132 seen in 2010. So what exactly is the law and what can employers do to help make a difference?

The legal alcohol limit for drivers in the UK is 35 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath and 80 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood. In most other European countries the limit is less, usually 50 milligrammes. The police can stop a driver at any time if they think they've been drinking, have committed a traffic offence or been involved in a road traffic accident.

According to the Department for Transport (DfT), 280 people died in 2011 from accidents involving drink-drivers. That should be enough to sober everyone's attitude to drink-driving.

Read the article by David Craik in the 18 July issue of Commercial Motor for more information on the subject.


Inside CPT Graham Sutton

This time we meet CPT's Committee Executive, Graham Suttonbr Graham provides the administrative and secretariat support for the majority of CPTrsquo;s Committees and Groups.

Clean Bus Technology Fund FAQs

DfT has made available some FAQs to local authorities submitting bids for the Clean Bus Technology Fund.nbsp; These supplement the guidance available on DfT's website.

News Release: Bus industry welcomes the preservation of bus service operators grant

The CPT has today welcomed the news that BSOG is to be protected until 201516. CPTrsquo;s Chief Executive Simon Posner said:nbsp;

EU 4th Railway Package

Steven Salmon addressed thenbsp;Associate Parliamentary Road Passenger Transport Groupnbsp;on 2 Julynbsp;about two proposals emerging in the EU Fourth Railway Package that have important implications for the bus industry.

News Release: CPT welcomes the conclusion of the Bus Subsidy review

The Confederation of Passenger Transport UK CPT has welcomed the conclusion to the Department for Transportrsquo;s review of the system of bus subsidies.nbsp;Commenting on Transport Minister Norman Bakerrsquo;s announcement, Chief Executive Simon Posner said:

Bus & Coach

Oxford Bus goes solar

The Oxford Bus Company is the first Oxfordshire business to develop a renewables scheme designed to benefit the local community.

Improved legal cover for CPT members

CPT has launched an improved service for members to support legal compliance and provide emergency 24-hour cover.

Two-door hybrid buses likely for Bristol

The buses to be ordered for Bristol’s planned bus rapid transit service, MetroBus, are likely to be dual-door hybrid single-deckers, following a study of vehicle types by the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership.

First Glasgow anti-vandal campaign

First Glasgow has launched an advertising campaign designed to deter antisocial behaviour and vandalism on its buses.

North Yorkshire plans cuts

A cut of 25 per cent in its bus budget is being proposed by North Yorkshire county council.

Fleet News

Two new developers appointed at iVendi

Two new developers have been appointed at motor industry technology company iVendi as the company expands.

New website from the FLA cuts car finance jargon

The Finance & Leasing Association (FLA) has re-launched its impartial online guide for customers buying a car on finance.

Mercedes-Benz announces new network operations director

Robert Muller has been appointed network operations director at Mercedes-Benz UK with effect from September 1, 2013.

LCV values fall in July according to NAMA

The National Association of Motor Auctions (NAMA) van market report shows average values of used LCVs at auction across the board fell by 2% compared with June.

Free EV charging for visitors to Cenex event

EV driving visitors to the Cenex Low Carbon Vehicle 2013 event will again be offered free recharging while they browse the show, thanks to APT Controls and the Source East Network.