The Department for Transport (DfT) has announced plans to allow rear-facing red flashing lamps in order to make road-side recovery safer. As part of its ‘Plan for Drivers’, the government department said it would be: “Permitting red flashing lights for breakdown vehicles, helping to protect recovery drivers by making them more visible at the roadside”, adding: “This measure will apply to England, Scotland, and Wales.”
Following a trial lasting 11 years, from 31 May 2023 longer semi-trailers (LST) will be permitted on British roads. These trailers measure up to 2.05 metres longer than a standard semi-trailer, and the Department for Transport anticipates their use will lead to substantial economic and environmental benefits. The list of savings includes reduced tyre costs.
As part of its response to the Department for Transport’s MOT Consultation, the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) has researched the views of the motor industry and motorists. Alongside its own in-depth analysis of MOT data, the new research further underlines the IMI’s view that any change to the current date for the first MOT or the frequency of MOTs would significantly increase road user risk. “We received a resounding confirmation – 87 per cent – from our members that the first MOT should not be extended due to increased road safety risk”, explained Hayley Pells, policy manager at the IMI. “And whilst only 51 per cent of motorists we surveyed felt the same, we believe there is sufficient weight of evidence to give the Department for Transport a very clear indication that any change to the start date would be detrimental for all road users.”
Northern Ireland’s Vehicle Policy Unit at the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) is banning tyres aged 10 years and older on the front axles of HGV’s, buses and coaches, and to the tyres on all axles of minibuses when fitted in single configuration. The changes being implemented in Northern Ireland will align with the changes introduced in Great Britain (GB) on 1 February 2021.
The Department for Transport (DfT) has launched a consultation on proposals to set up a Road Collision Investigation Branch (RCIB), which would operate much like the similar independent bodies that already exist for air, maritime and rail accidents. The consultation, which has been published on gov.uk, will run until 9 December.
New guidance has been published designed to prevent commercial vehicles, including vans, lorries, buses, coaches and even cranes, from being used as weapons in acts of terrorism. The standard, which has been published by the British Standards Institution (BSI) and sponsored by the Department for Transport, sets out a raft of security measures to prevent criminals and terrorists from accessing commercial vehicles.
NFDA chief executive Sue Robinson met with Rachel Maclean MP, parliamentary undersecretary of state at the Department for Transport, on 28 January to discuss the Government’s ambition to end the sale of internal combustion engine vehicles by 2030 and outline the key role dealers play on the Road to Zero.
The UK government has launched an audit into the mapping of potholes in England. Aided by data from on-road businesses such as Uber, Deliveroo and Tesco in addition to local highway authorities and highway data and mapping company Gaist, the Department for Transport will identify ‘pothole hot-spots’. The scheme intends to better target road improvements as people return to work and school. According to the most recent research published by Kwik-Fit on the subject, potholes caused £1.25 billion of damage to vehicles in 2019, with the average bill for affected motorists £115. Potholes damage most frequently afflicts tyres, wheels, suspension, and steering.
The Covid-19 lockdown prompts the question of whether getting an MOT test is permitted as a reason to leave the house. As Tyrepress has reported, garages are allowed to stay open under the terms of the lockdown, so does it follow that MOTs will continue to be required? The latest information is that MOTs for the vast majority “lorries, busses, and trailers” are currently suspended (see below or click here for more details), but this could be extended to private passenger vehicles as the situation develops. The Department for Transport states that it is keeping MOT testing for cars, motorcycles and light vans under review.[UPDATE (25/03/2020): the government has announced that cars, motorcycles and vans will receive an exemption from Monday 30 March 2020. Click here for further details.]
The government has published its future transport strategy. After highlighting mobility trends towards increased take-up of electric vehicles, increased amounts of vehicle connectivity and increased ecological consciousness, the strategy focuses on four “next steps”: Implementing a flexible regulatory framework, Supporting industry and local leaders, Ensuring government decision-making is robust; and continuing established technology-specific plans. In other words its about electric mobility, data connectivity and better environmental performance.
The Tyre Industry Federation (TIF) has announced that it understands the Department for Transport (DfT) intends to retain alignment with future evolutions of the EU tyre labelling regulations in the UK, at least as far as the label itself is concerned. The rationale is to ensure a smoothly working market for tyres, the TIF adds.
Negotiations to rectify the Department for Transport’s apparent failure to incorporate European Union Directives 2014/45/EU and 2014/47/EU into the wheel-related section of the new Heavy Goods Vehicle Inspection Manual has yielded a positive result for MWheels. The commercial vehicle wheel specialist shares that following a meeting with the DfT, DVSA and Parliamentary representative Mike Kane MP on 17 May, the DfT “has agreed to work with MWheels to investigate ways in which the Heavy Goods Vehicle Inspection Manual’s section on wheels can be enhanced to improve vehicle safety.”
As the latest provisional figures from the Department for Transport reveal that fatalities from drink driving have increased in the UK, safety campaigners are once again urging the Government to reconsider the drink drive limit in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The Department for Transport’s report, which was released in February, estimates that 9,050 people were killed or injured in 2016 when at least one driver was over the drink-drive limit – a significant rise from 2015’s figure of 8,470 and the highest figure recorded since 2012.
Roads Minister Jesse Norman has announced the government is investing a reported £250,000 in the first publicly funded research into tyre ageing. On 1 March a Department for Transport statement said it has commissioned “independent scientific research which will provide a fuller picture on the safety of tyres as they get older”.