All HGV operators should be thoroughly audited, the Road Haulage Association has told the government, in what would be a major change to the operator licensing system.
“We need to raise the bar for road haulage operators in the interests of road safety,” the RHA’s Chief Executive Richard Burnett said. “It is almost 50 years since the current O-licensing system was introduced, and it has served the industry well, overall. But trucks today are larger and heavier, operations are more demanding and expectations of competence and compliance with regulations are much higher than in the past.
“Mandatory auditing would flush out operators that should not have a licence. It would be a decisive step towards minimising road safety risks and would eliminate much unfair competition faced by the great majority of hauliers who work within the rules.
The RHA proposes that new applicants be granted a provisional, or interim, licence, with confirmation subject to a satisfactory audit of the operation. At the moment, new licences are granted on the basis of promises on the application and without any inspection of the operating systems and procedures. The RHA also suggests that follow-up audits should take place every five years.
“There is a lot of focus at present on looking at haulage firms that already operating to high standards,” Richard Burnett added. “The important issue for road safety – and fair competition - is to get to grips with those at the other end of the compliance spectrum. Auditing all operators achieves that, as well as validating the better firms.”