14-10-08 Biggest ever clampdown on unsafe lorries
The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) carried out its biggest ever clampdown on dangerous commercial vehicles between 1-5 October 2008, with checks at 97 different locations across the country.
The 5-day national clampdown, code-named Operation Boston, was the start of a national campaign introducing VOSA’s new capability to provide roadside presence across Britain on a 24/7 basis, targeting vehicles and drivers that break the law. The Department for Transport (DfT) allocated £24m extra funding earlier this year enabling VOSA to step up its enforcement activities targeting high risk traffic. The campaign was supported by Road Safety Minister Jim Fitzpatrick when he attended one of VOSA's enforcement check sites on 2 October.
During Operation Boston VOSA targeted more high risk vehicles than ever before, carrying out over 3,600 vehicle checks and issuing nearly 1,900 prohibition notices. VOSA is using a smart, intelligence-led approach in tackling unroadworthy UK and non-UK vehicles, utilising modern technology including Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) linked with Weigh in Motion Sensors (WIMS), and a device that links directly to operator databases and highlights those at risk of non-compliance. By using this approach, VOSA is able to target the non-compliant operators and reduce the burden on those who do comply.
Results of checks on vehicle condition, drivers' hours and overload:
The results of the operation clearly show that there are unacceptable numbers of unsafe vehicles on Britain’s roads. VOSA examiners inspected a total of 3,628 dangerous UK and non-UK registered commercial vehicles. Of those, a total of 1,889 unroadworthy vehicles were taken off the UK’s strategic road network for offences including dangerous mechanical condition, tired drivers flouting drivers’ hours limits, overloading and other offences.
Of these 3,628 vehicles 2,273 were registered outside the UK and 1,206 were breaking the law. Out of the 1,355 UK registered vehicles stopped by VOSA, 683 were breaking the law.
Examples of vehicles and drivers found to be a risk to road safety include:
- A driver stopped near Holyhead was found to be carrying a false licence and two digital driver cards, which he could use to falsify his drivers’ hours records. Both cards were registered to two unknown Dutch drivers. The driver was arrested by the Police.
- Another driver, stopped at the Humber Bridge, had been driving for 19 consecutive days without the required period of rest. The driver was required to take a 45-hour rest period with immediate effect.
- A VOSA stopping officer on the M6 observed that the rear wheels on the trailer unit of a loaded articulated vehicle were misaligned. During the inspection it was discovered that there were no attachment nuts remaining, and the twin wheels were about to fall off.
- On the M1 a rigid goods vehicle was found to be 150% overweight.
- On the M6 it was discovered that the rear axle on a French oil tanker’s trailer was insecure to the extent that it was in danger of failing. This vehicle was in immediate danger of causing an accident.
VOSA Chief Executive Stephen Tetlow said:
“Operation Boston was the first operation of its kind where VOSA was able to extend its 24/7 presence nationwide. We used all available targeted enforcement technology and newly recruited shift working staff. As a result, VOSA officers dealt with a staggering 3,628 vehicles and prevented a lot of accidents waiting to happen on the UK’s strategic road network. The number of offences is unacceptable. We will continue to improve road safety with the national rollout of additional enforcement staff targeting high risk traffic across the country.”
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VOSA (Vehicle and Operator Services Agency) is responsible for:
• Processing applications for licences to operate lorries and buses and registering bus services
• Operating and administering testing schemes for all vehicles, including the supervision of the MOT testing scheme
• Enforcing the law on vehicles to ensure that they comply with legal standards and regulations
• Enforcing drivers' hours and licensing requirements
• Supporting Traffic Commissioners to help them make informed decisions on operator
licensing, vocational drivers and bus registration requirements
• Providing training and advice for commercial operators
• Investigating vehicle accidents, defects and recalls.
For media enquiries about VOSA, please contact: Zita Easton on 0117 954 2561 or Luke Bigwood on 0117 954 3208. You can also e-mail email@example.com
Page last updated: 14/10/2008