The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has warned that the £3 million windfall collected by the DVSA from drivers’ hours law infringers thanks to beefed-up enforcement powers should not “disappear into a Treasury black hole”, but should instead be ploughed back into the enforcement of road safety standards.
James Firth, head of road freight regulation policy at FTA, said that the money should be specifically targeted at stricter enforcement for van drivers and non-GB operators, “where road safety standards are much lower”.
He commented: “This initiative has handed the chancellor a gift of a magnitude that no-one expected and which could make a significant impact to improve the overall safety of the UK’s roads.
“While the DVSA’s enforcement of commercial vehicles is almost exclusively funded by regular fees, paid for by operators when they get their vehicles tested, all fines go back to the Treasury, not the agency; FTA hopes the Treasury will unlock this revenue to provide much-needed road safety funding.”
Firth added: “The enforcement of van safety standards has reduced by half in the last five years; enforcement of non-GB van operators is marginal. FTA and its members, particularly those operating vans, strive for high levels of compliance with the law and we want to see a much stronger enforcement effort against those who hold a disregard for road safety.
“Vans are now a ubiquitous sight on the UK’s roads, and provide a vital link in the nation’s supply chain – but it is important that their operation is held to a similar enforcement effort as applied to other vehicles.
“Investing this windfall in improved enforcement capabilities would reassure reputable road users, and ensure that the UK’s complex supply chain can continue to operate to maximum efficiency, without the threat of rogue or unscrupulous operators.”
FTA highlighted a drop in the enforcement rates of mechanical safety standards of vans, from 20,520 in 2014 to 9,512 in 2017, adding that enforcement against non-GB vans “are measured in the hundreds annually”. HGV mechanical enforcement and drivers’ hours checks are, in comparison, far higher.