The latest Department for Transport data, compiled by the Office of National Statistics shows that road deaths increased by 4 per cent compared with 2013, rising to 1,775. The “Reported road casualties Great Britain: annual report 2014”, which was published on 24 September also points out that the number of people seriously injured increased by 5 per cent to 22,807 in 2014.
In the wake of the VW scandal, UK Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin is said to be pushing for European level action on car emissions tests. According to BBC News, he said: “We are closely monitoring the situation and have been pushing for action at a European level for more accurate tests that reflect driving on the road. It’s vital that the public has confidence in vehicle emissions tests and I am calling for the European Commission to investigate this issue as a matter of urgency.”
The second reading of the Infrastructure Bill yesterday represents “another significant step forward” for changes to how major roads will be managed from 2015, comments the Department for Transport. The bill provides the legal framework for the government’s £15 billion ‘Road investment strategy’. It includes major reforms to the Highways Agency.
The UK government’s Department for Transport announced that it had concluded its consultation on the enforcement mechanism for European tyre labelling legislation which began on 10 April and ran for around six weeks. As a result, the National Measurement Office (NMO) will now be basing its enforcement mechanism on a risk-based process using measures including criminal sanctions despite widespread tyre industry support for civil sanctions too. However, questions remain about exactly what this might mean in practice and – as we have seen – some will be disappointed that calls for civil penalties to be part of the enforcement mechanism appear to have gone unheard.
As of today, HGVs of 12 tonnes and more will pay a charge to use UK roads. The introduction of the new HGV levy has been introduced a year ahead of schedule and is paired with a reduction in Vehicle Excise Duty. The Department for Transport says the VED reduction means that nine out of ten UK registered HGVs will pay no more under the new system than they did before 1 April 2014. Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin describes the implementation of a user-pays system that also covers foreign hauliers, who previously were not charged for road use in Britain, as a step that will “provide a massive boost for the UK haulage industry.”
Speaking at the inquest into a fatal coach crash caused by the catastrophic failure of a 19-year old tyre, Surrey coroner Richard Travers stated that he would ensure the DfT was officially informed about the dangers posed by aged tyres. The tyre responsible for the crash was older than the coach it was fitted to, had never been regrooved or retreaded, was purchased second hand by the coach operator – and was completely legal.
The history of the NMO goes back to the Magna Carta, but more recently it was known as the National Weights and Measures Laboratory (NWML). In 2006, NWML became responsible for the enforcement of RoHS Regulations (Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations 2008) in the UK. On the 28 June 2007 NWML (more recently renamed the National Measurement Office) became part of the new Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills.
The National Measurement Office (NMO) has been named as the enforcement body of the European tyre labelling legislation that was implemented across the continent in November 2012. The NMO’s remit covers the effective implementation of tyre labelling in the UK and includes scope for retail checks as well as monitoring the authenticity and accuracy of the labels themselves. News of the appointment bridges the gap between the legislation put in place and the industry take steps to adapt to it. Now however, there is reason for renewed positivity. Not only because there are people to take responsibility for the deployment of the law, but because we will hopefully now be able to begin gauging the real effects of the legislation on how tyres are bought and sold.
The Department for Transport has released statistics relating to road traffic in Great Britain in the fourth quarter of last year and for 2012 as a whole. Over the year, the volume of all motor vehicle traffic fell by 0.4 per cent to 302.6 billion vehicle miles. Cars accounted for 79.4 per cent of all motor vehicle traffic, which is broadly the same proportion as in recent years.
The Road Haulage Association has called for tougher action to be taken against truck drivers who falsify their driving records. Mandatory jail sentences are needed to deter those who are tempted to cheat – backed by a new determination to detect and prosecute them through the courts, the RHA says.
"The Independent Garage Association (IGA) is disappointed at the Department for Transport’s (DfT) decision not to raise the standard MOT fee this year" said Stuart James, IGA director. The DfT have decided that during 2012 the set price for an MOT will remain at £54.85.
James continued: The majority of MOT test stations are small to medium sized businesses that are currently battling with increasing costs and declining revenue. The increase in cost would allow these already struggling businesses to recoup some of the revenue."
More than nine out of ten people who responded to the Government’s own "red-tape challenge" and who raised the MOT issue opposed proposals to reduce testing frequency, according to DfT papers released today.
The Government consulted the public on vehicle safety and standards as part of its review of road transport regulations in May and June this year. More than three-quarters of respondents raised the issue of the MOT but less than five per cent of those (and less than three per cent of all respondents) supported changing frequency.