The Transport Select Committee is conducting another inquiry into the work of the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA).
It will follow up on the Committee’s 2009 report which highlighted areas it thought the organisation could improve on, particularly the increasing number of foreign-registered vehicles which brought “unacceptable levels of non-compliance with basic road safety standards.”
The latest inquiry will seek to answer a number of key questions which include: any outstanding concerns about the standards of some foreign HGVs operating in the UK; what more can be done to improve the current standards; how VOSA can support Traffic Commissioner; and how the HGV Road User Levy Bill will affect the organisation.
All heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) and public service vehicles (PSVs) must comply with VOSA regulations, which were regarded as “a model of best practice at European level” in 2009. However, it was found that better legislation and collaboration with other agencies would be more effective than increased funding to combat the existing enforcement issues.
The 2009 report concluded that: “VOSA has generally proved to be an effective enforcement agency. There was a clear consensus among the witnesses that the work done by VOSA is both important and effective and that VOSA retains the respect of the haulage, bus and coach industries.”
It also found that there were too many loopholes surrounding PSV licensing, however, which “imperil the safety of passengers.” It recommended that revised legislation should be implemented ‘as soon as possible.
The Select Committee’s inquiry will start on Monday 25 February with evidence from: Jay Parmar, Legal and Policy Director, British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association; Jack Semple, Director of Policy, Road Haulage Association; James Firth, Head of Road Freight and Enforcement Policy, Freight Transport Association; Steven Latham, Senior Operations Manager, National Franchised Dealers Association; Kevin Warden, TUS Secretary, VOSA; and Gary Washer, TUS Assistant Secretary.