If you happen to be a professional driver or even just a regular car driver who keeps up with the news, you might already be aware of the fact that air pollution and emissions are very popular topics right now. As our atmosphere continues to decrease, we search for inventive and new ways of cutting down on pollution and becoming more eco-friendly. Since so much of the pollution we generate comes from cars out on the roads, it isn’t too surprising that this is where our focus is. So much so in fact that there are new measures being instituted that will to try to catch motorists who are attempting to avoid the new emissions guidelines that have been instituted. “If you are a law abiding professional driver, then there is absolutely no need to worry,” reassures a spokesperson at the LGV Training Company.
Roadside Checks Changes
Starting in August 2017, there is going to be a change in how roadside checks are conducted for HGVs, coaches and lorries. New guidelines have been issued by the DVSA which says that the new emission cheat devices are going to be included as part of all HGV vehicle roadside checks. The DVSA, in fact, is going to be targeting operators who attempt to cheat the vehicle emission regulations. What the department is hoping to do through targeting these individuals, is to reduce nitrogen dioxide levels and improve air quality in the UK.
Although in recent years, the efforts have been able to successfully improve the air quality levels in Britain, when it comes to lowering the quantities of one specific pollutant, which is nitrogen dioxide, we are still struggling. Unfortunately, it has been proven that this specific pollutant is linked to air-quality related illnesses and health problems, so it isn’t surprising that it is a priority to reduce this level. With more than 9,400 deaths per year being linked to air-quality illnesses just in London alone, and also road traffic contributing 50% of the nitrogen dioxide levels to the atmosphere, the main motivation is reducing these chemicals.
Fraudulent Emissions Systems
Over the course of several years, the DSVA enforcement staff research teams along with their counterparts in Europe, have been able to discover a high amount of HGV drivers who utilise emissions ‘cheat’ devices with their HGVs with the main aim being to cut their operational costs. Some of those devices include the following:
- Devices that have been designed for stopping inbuilt emission control systems in order to work properly.
- Removing the diesel particulate trap or filter.
- Using a diesel exhaust fluid, or fake, cheap exhaust reduction device for lowering emissions reports.
- Installing engine modifications that are illegal, and the result in there being excessive emissions (instead of utilising a device to reduce them).
- Bypassing or removing the exhaust gas recirculation valve.
A professional HGV driver, of course, shouldn’t ever think about doing any of those things, especially if they do not even own the vehicles they will be driving. Unfortunately, this happens more often than you might think. In fact, it has become so common that the DVSA is implementing checks in order to prevent these practices.
Vehicle Emissions Spot Checks
If a DVSA representative pulls over an HGV driver, various vehicle checks frequently are conducted. As of August 2017, the list will also include the emissions cheat device check, to make sure that vehicles are completely up to code. If any device or another type of emissions problem is discovered, the driver is the one who will be held responsible. The individual will have 10 days to get the emissions system fixed if any tampering has been done. If for any reason the problems are not fixed in 10 days, then a hefty fine will be issued by the DVSA and the vehicle will be prevented from being utilised out on the road. If it is discovered that the driver is a repeated offender, then the DVSA may insist that the vehicle be completely taken off of the road.
The most important thing that needs to be noted is, it isn’t the vehicle owner or company that is considered at fault when a cheat device is discovered on a vehicle. The operator is the one who is held responsible – the individual who is driving the vehicle on that day. You are responsible, as the driver, for your vehicle’s safety and making sure that it meets all of the regulations, and very soon this is going to be one. So prior to August 1st, be sure to check your vehicles for the devices before taking off on your next journey.