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If you are a regular or a professional driver that loves listening to the news, you are probably aware that air pollution and emissions are a quite a popular topic currently. As the condition of the atmosphere worsens, humanity is looking for new and innovative ways to reduce pollution and become eco-friendlier. The fact that most of the pollution originates from vehicles on the roads makes it hardly surprising that it is where most of the focus lies. New measures actually being introduced in an attempt to try catching motorists that may try to avoid the new emission guidelines.
Starting August 2017, there will be changes to how roadside checks are conducted for coaches, lorries, as well as HGVs. The new guidelines have been issued by the DVSA and state that all roadside checks for HGV vehicles will include 'new emission cheat devices'. "The DVSA has actually stated that it will be targeting any operators that try to cheat the vehicle emission regulations. The department is hoping that it can reduce the levels of nitrogen dioxide and improve the air quality within the United Kingdom by targeting these individuals," tells us an HGV training expert at the LGV Training Company.
While the measures in recent years have managed to improve the air quality levels in Britain, it is still a struggle to reduce the quantities of one pollutant, which is nitrogen dioxide. Unfortunately, nitrogen dioxide has been linked to various health problems as well as illnesses related to air quality so it is hardly surprising that reducing its levels is one of the key priorities. With more than 9,400 deaths every year attributed to illnesses related to air-quality in London alone, and the fact that road traffic contributes to not less than 50% of the levels of nitrogen dioxide in the atmosphere, reducing the levels of these chemicals is the key motivation.
Teams of researchers from the DVSA's enforcement staff and their counterparts in other European countries working over a period of several years have discovered that a considerable number of HGV drivers are using emissions 'cheat' devices on their vehicles, mostly aiming to reduce operational costs.
Some of the devices that were discovered include:
A professional HGV driver should obviously never consider doing such things, especially if he/she is not the owner of the vehicle they are driving. Unfortunately, the practice is quite common than you would think. It is actually common enough that the DVSA is instituting measures for preventing it.
If a representative of the DVSA pulls over an HGV, several vehicle checks are often undertaken. Starting August 2017, the emissions cheat device check will be included on this list of checks to make sure that the vehicle is in compliance with the rules. If a device or a different emissions problem is discovered, the driver will be held responsible. He or she will have 10 days to repair the emissions system that has been tampered with. Failure to correct the problems within 10 days for whatever reason will attract a hefty fine from the DVSA and will prevent the vehicle from being used on the road. Drivers found to be repeat offenders risk having their vehicles permanently taken off the road by the DVSA.
One important thing to pay attention to here is that the vehicle's owner won't be considered at fault in case the cheat device is discovered on the vehicle. It is the operator or the person driving the vehicle that day that will be held liable. As a driver, it is your responsibility to ensure the safety of your vehicle and making sure that it meets the regulations, and soon enough this will be one of them. Starting August 1st, ensure that you check your vehicles for such devices before setting off on a journey.