Changes could be afoot for those who operate volumetric concrete mixers, recovery vehicles, showman’s vehicles and mobile cranes. The government is currently consulting on whether or not these type of vehicles should continue to be exempt from operator licensing.
Recent encounters by DVSA, particularly with exempt volumetric concrete mixer vehicles, have resulted in over 80% being found to have mechanic defects that were so bad that an immediate prohibition was issued. In addition, half of them were found to be overloaded or carrying an insecure load.
The government is concerned that such blatant disregard for ensuring that vehicles are kept in a fit and serviceable condition is having a disproportionate effect on competition, particularly within the construction industry, where volumetric concrete mixers are in direct competition with drum type mixers, which are not exempt from operator licensing. Bringing these vehicles within the requirements to hold an operator’s licence, would the government believe, improve safety for employees and other road users.
Greater clarity is needed as to which vehicles and sectors are exempt from operator licensing. The number of exempted vehicles has grown substantially so that now it is estimated that there are 40,000 such vehicles, which represents about 12% of heavy goods vehicles. The government believe that the validity of the exemption for recovery vehicles, mobile cranes and showman’s vehicles is justified in that most of these are based on a standard HGV base and need to be maintained in exactly the same way as other types of HGVs. The government is also concerned that advances in technology mean that electrically propelled vehicles are becoming more common and so that the time is right to review whether they should be included within operator licensing.
The consultation is open until 5th March 2015. There certainly needs to be clarification as to what is or is not covered by the need to hold an operator’s licence. The list of exemptions do not mirror those relating to other regulations, such as drivers hours, which leads to confusion and businesses sometimes inadvertently falling foul of the law. If you would like any advice on exemptions from operator licensing, please telephone me on 01756 790631