The Road Haulage Association has called on the government to introduce an auditing system that would weed out bad HGV operators.
It wants to see a major change to the operator licensing system that would see all HGV operators being thoroughly audited on a regular basis.
“We need to raise the bar for road haulage operators in the interests of road safety,” said RHA chief executive Richard Burnett.
“It is almost 50 years since the current O-licensing system was introduced and it has served the industry well, overall. But trucks 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 it would eliminate much unfair competition faced by the great majority of hauliers who are working within the rules.
“We propose 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,” said Burnett.
The RHA argues 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. 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,” said Burnett.