As a professional or normal driver do you listen to lots of news? Well, you might have heard a lot of talk about air pollution and emissions. Our atmosphere is continually degrading and people are looking for inventive and new ways to reduce air pollution and promote eco-friendliness. Most of the pollution comes from vehicles and that’s where the main focus of this article has been directed. Currently, new measures have been put in place to identify motorists who have completely ignored the emissions guidelines.
Changes to the Roadside Checks
New regulations will become effective in August 2017 on the roadside checks for coaches, HGVs and lorries. “Released by the DVSA, the new guidelines state that new emissions cheat devices will be available in all the roadside checks for HGVs,” explains an HGV expert at Surrey and Hampshire Training. The guidelines are set to target operators who are trying to cheat the vehicle emission regulations. By targeting these individuals, the department hopes that they can make a huge improvement to the air quality in the UK by reducing nitrogen levels considerably.
A few recent efforts have considerably improved the air quality in the UK. However, there is a continuing struggle to reduce the levels of nitrogen dioxide, one of the notable air pollutants. Currently, there are many cases of people falling ill because of the presence of nitrogen dioxide in the air. That is why reducing its quantity has become the top priority for the DVSA. The death estimates from air quality related illnesses in London have been reported at 9,400 people every year. Road traffic contributes to at least half of the nitrogen dioxide levels in the atmosphere. Therefore, reducing these fatal incidences is the primary motivation.
Fraudulent Emission Systems
For the last few years, the enforcement staff in the DSVA and their European counters discovered many HGV drivers using emissions cheat devices. Basically, it’s a means to reduce operational costs. Some of the devices discovered include the following:
- Devices that hamper the proper functioning of the in-built systems that control the vehicle emissions
- Removal of the diesel particulate trap or filter
- Using a fake or cheap exhaust reduction device or diesel exhaust fluid to reduce the emission reports
- Installing illegal modifications to the engines to increase emissions (rather than using a device to reduce emissions)
- Bypassing or removing the exhaust gas recirculation valve
A professional HGV driver is prohibited from taking any of these actions, especially if they are not driving their own vehicles. However, the practice has become quite common and that’s why the DVSA has put the necessary checks in place to prevent such actions.
Spot Checks for Emissions
If a DVSA representative pulls over an HGV, he/she performs a series of roadside checks. From August 2017, emissions cheat device will become part of the roadside checks. That’s why all the drivers need to make sure their vehicles are up to code. If any of these devices or emission issues are discovered, the driver is held responsible. They are given 10 days to fix the tampered emissions system and if that doesn’t happen for whatever reason, there are some consequences.
The DVSA will issue the driver with a hefty fine to prohibit the vehicle from being driven on the road. If the driver is a repeat offender, the DVSA will insist that the vehicle should be taken off the road completely. Note that, if a vehicle is found guilty of having a cheat device, the owner or the company will not be held accountable. Rather, it is the operator or the person who is actually driving the vehicle on that particular day. Therefore, regardless of whether an employee is driving a company car or you have lent your spouse the car for the day, the driver is the responsible party.
In conclusion, you should know that as the driver, you are completely responsible for the safety of your vehicle. You need to make sure all the regulations are met completely. The emissions cheat device is one of these requirements that all the drivers should adhere to. Therefore, before driving any car, whether yours or someone else’s you need to check for these devices and make sure that you adhere to all the roadside checks and regulations.