Freight Transport Association says "blanket" London Safer Lorry Scheme proposals not the answer

Lorry owners' group says targeting operators with poor safety standards prefereble

by Simon_MacMichael   July 31, 2014  

Cement lorry in London © Simon MacMichael.jpg

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) says that plans to ban lorries without certain safety features from London are flawed and that targeting operators with poor safety records would be preferable to a blanket approach.

As we reported yesterday, Mayor of London Boris Johnson has launched a consultation on proposals to require all lorries over 3.5 tonnes operating within the capital’s low emissions zone to be fitted with equipment including additional mirrors and sideguards.

Vehicles without such features would be excluded from the city, including some such as construction lorries, tipper trucks, waste vehicles, cement mixers or lorries registered before 2000 that do not currently have to have side guards fitted.

The FTA says however that the Safer Lorries Scheme proposed by Transport for London (TfL) is not the best way to improve the safety of cyclists in London and that other approaches could be more beneficial.

Its head of urban logistics policy, Christopher Snelling, said: “We are always concerned about new regulatory instruments being created, their compliance and enforcement costs, and how politicians might decide to change or extend these powers in the future. Safety on the roads is a complex issue and politicians often reach for the simplistic solution.”

Among concerns raised by the FTA are that some smaller vehicles would not be suitable to be fitted with additional mirrors, since it believes these would then create a hazard to pedestrians.

It also says that the proposals could impact types of traffic it claims are not typically involved in the deaths of cyclists, such as container trucks, and that TfL should instead target operators with poor safety standards that break existing laws.

Mr Snelling added: “There is no one magic solution to safety on our roads. Unless everyone involved takes intelligent action, the problem will not improve as much as we all want.”

Yesterday’s launch of the consultation was accompanied by two businesses, supermarket chain Sainsbury’s and skip lorry operator O’Donovan Waste, unveiling new lorries incorporating features designed to make them safer for cyclists sharing road space with them.

London Cycling Campaign has long lobbied for safer lorries in the capital, and yesterday its lorry danger expert, Charlie Lloyd, a former HGV driver, said: "It's brilliant that these companies are showing the way that the risk of injury to cyclists and pedestrians can be reduced.

“The proposed ‘Safer Lorries’ regulation from the Mayor is the first step in bring all transport operators up to this level. Avoidable risks still remain as current designs put the driver up in the air too far away from people on the street.”

But, he added: "Some manufacturers are working on plans to create "direct vison" drivers' cabs as suggested by LCC's Safer Urban Lorry design in 2013. The large warning sign on the back of the Sainsbury's lorry is still required as drivers of these lorries are still handicapped by inappropriate vehicle design."

15 user comments

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It's an obvious point, but having a policy in which you only deal with the operators that have a poor safety records, means that you have to continue to have accidents to identify them.

Healthy and safety policy is heavily biased towards prevention, if this association suggested such a solution for use within a construction site they'd be laughed at.

posted by bikebot [585 posts]
31st July 2014 - 17:49

58 Likes

"It also says that the proposals could impact types of traffic it claims are not typically involved in the deaths of cyclists, such as container trucks, and that TfL should instead target operators with poor safety standards that break existing laws"

Who would have through I would agree with anything that
The Freight Transport Association would have to say, given the below story that would be 2/3 of the lorries band from the roads then, that's fine by me.

http://road.cc/content/news/106178-two-thirds-lorries-stopped-police-are...

Housecathst's picture

posted by Housecathst [61 posts]
31st July 2014 - 18:00

48 Likes

Were all the operators involved in fatal accidents ones with poor safety records?

posted by DuncanMc [11 posts]
31st July 2014 - 18:10

49 Likes

Turkey's vote against Christmas shocker.

posted by IanW1968 [177 posts]
31st July 2014 - 18:13

40 Likes

Here's an idea.

Do some serious investigation of operators to find out those who are particularly bad (some of whom will be members of the FTA). There are problems with doing this because it's difficult to find even drivers who have really bad records. But heavy enforcement of existing regulations means that a substantial proportion of HGVs will be found to be breaking regulations and can get fined appropriately (see

http://road.cc/content/news/106178-two-thirds-lorries-stopped-police-are...) quoted by Housethecast, or just taken off the road.

Then, because "having a bad record" simply means that collisions have been recorded rather than whether good practices are in place, make sure that all lorries are designed to minimise the possibilities of cyclists (and pedestrians) being crushed. Not just the cameras and side guards, but front under-run guards, plus the lower cabs Charlie Lloyd talks about. Then proper investigation of collisions and heavier penalties for drivers responsible for hurting or killing others in general. plus police activity over close overtaking.

Plus highway engineering to keep lorries away from pedestrians and cyclists.

That ought to do it.

posted by ChairRDRF [134 posts]
31st July 2014 - 19:33

42 Likes

Yup, because finally the mayor has woken up to the realisation that the industry can't self-regulate and now they're not happy.

posted by alexb [50 posts]
31st July 2014 - 19:45

50 Likes

Saw one of the Sainsburys lorries. I liked it. I even thought the message to cyclists on the back was well-judged and I'm sensitive to being branded a 2nd class road user or to messages that displace responsibility from the lorry driver.

The extra field of vision for the drivers provided by the camera(s) is an enabling technology for their drivers to see cyclist or other road users in blind spot areas. That's an attempt to take some ownership of the resultant risk to other road users.

A great well-done to them. Made my day.

posted by Wrongfoot [35 posts]
31st July 2014 - 20:11

32 Likes

alexb wrote:
Yup, because finally the mayor has woken up to the realisation that the industry can't self-regulate and now they're not happy.

+1

If the FTA actually started to regulate its members, rather than acting like a trades union and blaming everyone else, then perhaps they would having something to say worth listening to.

Did Nightrider 2013 and 2014 for Parkinson's UK. Might just have one last go in 2015.

jova54's picture

posted by jova54 [622 posts]
31st July 2014 - 20:30

35 Likes

The FTA are against blanket standards to improve safety. This essentially means that they wish to perpetuate a situation where some lorries are unsafe.

Why do they want to keep unsafe lorries on the road? Because it saves money.

Remember: The FTA thinks their money is more important than YOUR life. Keep this in mind when thinking about anything they say.

posted by severs1966 [85 posts]
31st July 2014 - 20:46

28 Likes

So this article effectively says 'Lobby group opposes measures that will enforce a cost on to the group they lobby for'...anyone surprised by that???

posted by md6 [156 posts]
1st August 2014 - 8:59

35 Likes

One reason the FTA are going down this route is in part a way of helping their members avoid paying for these measures, also how can you regulate the "bad" companies when all they will do is rebrand themselves and carry on regardless.

The only sensible way is a blanket ban on lorries without the relevant safety measures.

FATBEGGARONABIKE's picture

posted by FATBEGGARONABIKE [591 posts]
2nd August 2014 - 13:14

9 Likes

Some knee jerk reactions here. I am very much against blanket proposals to crack down on cyclist misbehaviour because only some cyclists misbehave. Likewise cracking down on all car drivers is stupid because it dilutes the effort to find, stop and prosecute the careless and dangerous ones. I think the FTA has a point. There are a few types of vehicle and operator profile that are responsible for the bulk of cyclists deaths. The likely operator profile is that they are probably not in a trade association, operate older, less well maintained vehicles, employ the sort of drivers that the better companies won't touch.
Don't waste resources cracking down on responsible companies employing excellent drivers in well maintained modern trucks. Go after the companies squeezing the last ounce of profit from old trucks employing the numpty drivers on tight schedules with piece work contracts.

Cycling is like a church - many attend, but few understand.

posted by oozaveared [653 posts]
4th August 2014 - 15:35

4 Likes

FATBEGGARONABIKE wrote:
One reason the FTA are going down this route is in part a way of helping their members avoid paying for these measures, also how can you regulate the "bad" companies when all they will do is rebrand themselves and carry on regardless.

The only sensible way is a blanket ban on lorries without the relevant safety measures.

Well, confiscation of the vehicles would be pretty effective...

posted by jacknorell [410 posts]
4th August 2014 - 15:52

3 Likes

oozaveared wrote:
Some knee jerk reactions here. I am very much against blanket proposals to crack down on cyclist misbehaviour because only some cyclists misbehave. Likewise cracking down on all car drivers is stupid because it dilutes the effort to find, stop and prosecute the careless and dangerous ones. I think the FTA has a point. There are a few types of vehicle and operator profile that are responsible for the bulk of cyclists deaths. The likely operator profile is that they are probably not in a trade association, operate older, less well maintained vehicles, employ the sort of drivers that the better companies won't touch.
Don't waste resources cracking down on responsible companies employing excellent drivers in well maintained modern trucks. Go after the companies squeezing the last ounce of profit from old trucks employing the numpty drivers on tight schedules with piece work contracts.

The FTA members may be more responsible. That's a different discussion.

They're opposing safety equipment that does save lives and prevent injuries. These requirements affect ALL operators, including the bad ones.

Without these rules, the 'rogue' operators cannot be fined. Good operators will not be fined.

They're ONLY trying to avoid their members paying a few hundred pounds, there's no other rationale here.

posted by jacknorell [410 posts]
4th August 2014 - 15:54

3 Likes

jacknorell wrote:
oozaveared wrote:
Some knee jerk reactions here. I am very much against blanket proposals to crack down on cyclist misbehaviour because only some cyclists misbehave. Likewise cracking down on all car drivers is stupid because it dilutes the effort to find, stop and prosecute the careless and dangerous ones. I think the FTA has a point. There are a few types of vehicle and operator profile that are responsible for the bulk of cyclists deaths. The likely operator profile is that they are probably not in a trade association, operate older, less well maintained vehicles, employ the sort of drivers that the better companies won't touch.
Don't waste resources cracking down on responsible companies employing excellent drivers in well maintained modern trucks. Go after the companies squeezing the last ounce of profit from old trucks employing the numpty drivers on tight schedules with piece work contracts.

The FTA members may be more responsible. That's a different discussion.

They're opposing safety equipment that does save lives and prevent injuries. These requirements affect ALL operators, including the bad ones.

Without these rules, the 'rogue' operators cannot be fined. Good operators will not be fined.

They're ONLY trying to avoid their members paying a few hundred pounds, there's no other rationale here.

I don't entirely disagree but the point with blanket bans and requirements is that politicians like them. They appear to be doing something that good operators will comply with but rogue ones won't. That's not a problem in itself if you intend to allocate resources to policing the new requirements. But they won't because they already don't allocate enough resources or apply enough determination to cracking down on the dangerous and rogue operators that already exist.

It's just a cheap way for politicians to appear to be doing something without it costing them/us anything. I expect that the FTA would be delighted if the police, VOSA, DSA, HMRC actually did crack down on the bad companies operating the unsafe lorries with cavailier drivers because they suffer from being undercut by the cowboys. But if the proposal means they have their costs put up for the already compliant and safe companies and drivers and the cowboy operators just ignore those requirements as they already do, then it's worse than pointless.

Let's start by enforcing the laws and standards we already have properly. After that (which will see a lot of the chancers and cowboys removed from the roads) we can look at improving the standards and enforcing them.

Cycling is like a church - many attend, but few understand.

posted by oozaveared [653 posts]
5th August 2014 - 13:12

3 Likes