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U-turn for Vosa after overlength court case dismissal

  • 30 November 2012
  • By Chris Druce

Vosa has been forced to review its policy on overlength vehicles after a car transporter driver successfully overturned a prosecution for breaking length regulations.

Last month, South Ribble Magistrates’ Court in Leyland, Lancashire dismissed a case brought by Vosa against Mark Hardy for driving a car transporter in excess of the 18.75m maximum allowed under the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) regulations 1986 and section 42 of the Road Traffic Act 1988.

The ruling forced Vosa to withdraw two further cases against other car transporter drivers pending further legal advice, and has called into question its interpretation of the length regulations for drawbar combinations.

A Vosa spokeswoman said: “Following a magistrates court decision to disallow a Vosa prosecution where an operator used an overlength vehicle, a decision was made to withdraw similar cases pending further advice.

The case has brought to a head a long-running dispute between Vosa and car transporter operators, centring on whether a safety device at the front of the trailer should be included in the vehicle measurement.

Operators say the device, known as a flip over chock (pictured), is vital for safe operating as it prevents the risk of a vehicle falling off the front of the trailer.

Engineer John Eastman, chair of the IRTE technical committee, said: “In order to fully utilise the body on the truck, it is necessary to ensure that the car being loaded onto the front peak deck is on the foremost body cross member, and this is exactly what the safety stop ensures.”

Emergency meeting scheduled

The Road Haulage Association’s (RHA) car transporter group is to hold an emergency meeting in early December to discuss what to do over the issue and has asked for operators whose drivers receive fines/prosecutions for running overlength to contact them.

Nick Deal, secretary of the RHA car transporter group, said members disagreed with Vosa’s stance. “This has been going on for 40 years, but had not been tested in court until a few weeks ago when Vosa, where Vosa lost and subsequently withdrew from two further similar court cases.”


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