Changes to VOSA roadside enforcement welcomed by FTA

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) welcomes the introduction of legislation that means from today police and Vehicle Operator Services Agency (VOSA) enforcement officers will be able to issue fixed penalty notices to drivers, regardless of nationality, at the roadside in respect of drivers' hours and overloading offences.

This will level the playing field between domestic and foreign drivers, says FTA. The leading trade body has long supported the Graduated Fixed Penalty and Deposit Scheme to improve driver and vehicle safety standards, regardless of which country the vehicle is registered in.

Joan Williams, FTA's Head of Road Freight and Enforcement Policy, said:

"Improved enforcement and targeting of potentially unsafe vehicles is essential. No longer will foreign drivers be able to break the law with impunity. Any driver issued with a fixed penalty who cannot provide a suitable UK address will be required to pay a deposit at the roadside and if necessary the vehicle will be immobilised until the deposit is paid.

"Daily vehicle checks have always been crucial to the safe operation of vehicles; drivers should be aware that they could now be facing fixed penalties if they fail to conduct these checks properly."

Although the legislation will be bought into effect from today (1 April), VOSA will not be actively issuing fixed penalty notices until the end of May, which has led to some confusion in the industry.

Williams concluded:

"While we are glad that this rather protracted process has finally come to an end, we will be watching carefully to see how VOSA and the police implement the rules fairly and consistently."

FTA has published guidance on the new rules, setting out all the fixed penalty offences and guidance on what is expected of drivers and operators under these new rules.

1. Fixed penalties will be set at different amounts depending on the offence. Additionally, different levels of fixed penalty will be set for the same offence to reflect the level of offending. These graduated fixed penalties will now apply to a wider range of offences, including breach of drivers' hours rules, overloading and failure to provide evidence of Driver CPC qualification.

2. The Freight Transport Association represents the transport interests of companies moving goods by road, rail, sea and air. FTA members operate over 220,000 goods vehicles – almost half the UK fleet. In addition they consign over 90 per cent of the freight moved by rail and over 70 per cent of sea and air freight.

3. For further information please contact FTA's media team on 01892 552255/01892 552253 or, out of hours, on 07985 874248 or 07818 450425.