The government has unveiled amends to Road Safety Regulations to help improve the safety standards of UK roads. The changes, while minor, will impact drivers of HGVs and commercial vehicles as much as other drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.
On behalf of the Freight Transport Association (FTA), spokesman Christopher Snelling has welcomed the changes as they aim to standardise driver behaviour and actions in relation to larger vehicles. On top of this, regulations applied to the vehicles themselves are intended to improve vehicle safety.
According to the regulations, it will no longer be legal to remove side and rear guards from large commercial vehicles. These guards are intended to prevent mounting of smaller vehicles like cars and motorcycles, effectively reducing the risk and volume of major traffic accidents. It may be possible, however, for operators to apply for exemptions in cases where not being able to remove guards would affect their work.
The number of penalty points handed to commercial drivers caught using mobile phones while driving are also doubled. Now six points is the minimum fine for any HGV, truck or other large commercial vehicle driver handling a phone at the wheel.
While this comes about as a larger deterrent, the FTA’s Christopher Snelling wonders if this is really enough. He also states that the FTA would ideally prefer to see stricter enforcement of this rule with increased scrutiny of drivers. Snelling theorises that the more likely it is for drivers to be caught in the act, the less likely it is that they’ll be on the phone in the first place.
By complying with these regulations, you can make sure that you – as a commercial vehicle driver – are being as safe as possible on the road. As ever, it’s vital to take other motorists, cyclists and pedestrians into consideration when operating a heavy vehicle, to ensure the safety of yourself and those around you.