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Exclusive: Van safety targeted with new DVSA campaign
A major new campaign is to be launched in January by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) in a bid to improve van safety.
However, rather than using a ‘big stick’ approach of prohibition notices and fines, the DVSA is focusing on operator and driver education and encouraging a self-help attitude to improving compliance.
DVSA head of enforcement scheme Gordon MacDonald said that fleet operators and drivers could achieve much to improve compliance by copying the HGV sector and undertaking 10-minute walk round check on vehicles, with a focus on tyre, brake and bodywork condition before setting off on journeys.
“That would solve a multitude of problems,” said Macdonald, who explained that vehicle mechanical condition and overloading were key DVSA concerns alongside a 50% MoT van failure rate.
Vehicle enforcement checks carried out by DVSA staff at roadside and operators’ premises in 2013/14 on UK-registered light goods vehicles reveal that: 2,543 prohibition notices were issued following weight checks on 3,031 vehicles (83.9%), down from 89.9% in 2012/13 and 87.3% in 2011/12; and 15,122 prohibition notices were issued following mechanical checks on 25,139 vehicles (60.2%), down from 68.9% in 2012/13 and 66.2% in 2011/12.
Additionally, the DVSA says the van MoT failure rate of around 50% – compared with an HGV one of 20% – was a huge concern with brakes, suspension and lighting/signalling being among the major reasons.
The RAC believes petrol could soon be selling for under £1 a litre, as a result of the plummeting global oil price.
Fuel was last at this price point five years ago in May 2009.
The price of Brent crude has fallen below the $60 a barrel mark for the first time since early July 2009 and is predicted to keep on dropping after OPEC (Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) indicated it will not cut production even if oil hits $40 a barrel.
In July 2009 the average price of unleaded was 103.09p a litre and diesel 104.22p, due to the slightly stronger pound which affects pump prices – fuel is traded in dollars.
While the pound is currently a little weaker than it was then at $1.57, there is a very good chance forecourt prices will continue to fall as the price of a barrel of crude goes lower.
The RAC is hopeful this would lead to petrol being sold nationally for under £1 a litre in the first few months of the new year.
RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “What’s currently happening at the pumps with falling fuel prices is something many company car drivers and fleet managers will not remember seeing before. Talk of prices going up like a rocket and falling like a feather could not be further from the truth as retailers have been quick to pass on savings at the forecourt since the RAC forecast on 6 December that prices were due to come down by 7p a litre for petrol and 6p for diesel.”
The RAC’s monitoring of fuel prices shows the average price of a litre of petrol is 116.9p (14 Dec 2014 – the latest available price) – 13.89p a litre cheaper than the start of the year when it was 130.79p – and diesel is 15.91p cheaper – 122.33p a litre now compared to 138.24p in January. On 15 December 2014 the average supermarket price of fuel was 114.26p for petrol and 120.18p for diesel.
A major all-party report on remanufacturing was launched at the House of Commons in early December
The keynote speech was made by Defra minister Dan Rogerson MP, and the paint industry was mentioned as one of the new areas of remanufacturing that society should be tackling. He praised the British Coatings Federation (BCF) for its pro-activity in trying to get a circular economy paint project off the ground, and is committed to work with the Federation through his officials to try and make it a reality.
The report made 24 recommendations to Government about remanufacturing, and two of these were specifically related to the work BCF has been doing. Recommendation 14 is that the European Commission should consider exempting remanufacturing activities from the scope of authorisation and restrictions, if there are environmental benefits in allowing remanufacturing to continue. Recommendation 15 is that government should develop a Resource Efficiency Action Plan for left over paint, together with paint manufacturers through the BCF, retailers, Defra, local authorities, waste management companies and paint remanufacturers. Another key recommendation was that Government adopt procurement targets for remanufactured products to help create a market for remanufactured goods.
BCF’s CEO Tom Bowtell said ‘We were delighted for our project to be the only one specifically mentioned by the Minister at the launch of the remanufacturing report. This is the first time that the issue of paint remanufacturing has got on to the political agenda, and this is a great way to kick off our Resource Efficiency Action Plan, which will begin its work in early 2015 to look for long term solutions for left over decorative paint.’
The delay in the date for the abolition of the paper counterpart to the current driving licence is ‘irrelevant’ as the time for fleets to change their processes is now, says the Association for Driving Licence Verification.
The association said some corporate fleet users are concerned that even when the current alternative proposed by the DVLA becomes available it might not address all their business compliance and operational requirements for fleets of 20 or more.
The ADLV is recommending that fleet managers evaluate available commercial alternatives now to reap immediate and significant efficiency savings as well as data security enhancements.
Malcolm Maycock, chairman of the ADLV, said: “The benefits of electronic checking are already available and proven so why wait until someone decides a date for the inevitable?
“Organisations seeking to professionally manage and protect their employees’ driver data should make the move to electronic checking now.”
Kevin Curtis, technical director at the ADLV, added: “Working alongside the DVLA, the ADLV will launch a real-time checking service early in the New Year.
“We also plan to launch the new eConsent service for paperless checks as well as the current ‘wet signature’ D796.
“ADLV members offer a risk free and compliant solution to managing driver data and this is being well received by those who wish to take a professional approach.”
Manheim has confirmed two senior appointments at its UK operations.
Martin Forbes and Tim Hudson have been appointed as managing directors of Manheim Retail Services and Manheim Remarketing, respectively.
Forbes, who joins Manheim Retail Services early in the New Year, brings a wealth of specialist digital marketing expertise to the business, having spent the past eight years at the helm of two leading global media companies.
Most recently he was group chief executive officer of international production and digital agency group Stink, prior to which he was SVP and managing director of Vibrant Media Inc. Before that Forbes was a partner within the Entrepreneurial and Private Equity team at Pricewaterhouse Coopers, based in London.
Hudson returns to the UK after a two year spell as chief executive of Manheim’s Asia Pacific operations, where he has been leading a successful business transformation programme which has seen Manheim significantly grow its activities in this huge and important international market.
Prior to Manheim, Tim was managing director of Aston Barclay and also spent eight years with leading leasing firm LeasePlan, where he held a number of senior positions, latterly that of managing director. He will be taking up his new role in Manheim Remarketing in March 2015.
The company’s award-winning customer service ethos, coupled with its investment in new technology and innovation will continue to be its prime focus, according to Michael Buxton, chief executive officer of Manheim UK.
Home market outperforms exports
• UK car manufacturing output fell by 277 units in November, with 137,347 cars produced.
• Year-to-date output stable at 1,419,427 units, a drop of 0.3%.
• Exports remain subdued in contrast to continued growth for the home market.
‘Model changes and economic uncertainty in export markets have flattened UK car production, but the industry remains in a strong position with growth expected to return next year,’ said Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive.
‘Global demand for UK automotive engineering continues to be at a high level, and manufacturing plants are seeing the benefits of significant recent investments. UK-built cars offer a vast range of technologies to lower carbon emissions and improve air quality, underlining the country’s important role in the continuing drive to reduce all emissions.’