This week we bring a professional warning to any HGV drivers in the UK and Europe, and that’s this: start checking your vehicles. From August, which is only a few weeks away, roadside checks for HGVs will now include an ‘emissions cheat device’ search. This move comes after concerns that pollution coming from Britain’s roads is still too high and the discovery that many HGV drivers are using emissions cheat devices to beat the reports. So from now on, HGV drivers have yet another check to face.
The New Roadside Checks
These new emissions cheat roadside checks will come into effect on the 1st of August 2017 and will affect all lorries, coaches and HGVs. This comes off the back of announcements from the DVSA, who released the reasons for the checks in spring last year. These new roadside checks will be for all divers, but the DVSA has stated that they will be particularly targeting drivers who are known to have cheated emissions tests before, hoping that reducing repeat offenders will improve the air quality in Britain.
At the end of the day, emissions regulations all come down to air quality. Despite being heavily polluted by cars and greenhouse gases, Britain’s air is ranked 2,516th in the world – behind New York and the Sahara desert (whose air contains hundreds of airborne toxins). But even though we have been working towards cleaner air for years, our air still contains higher than safe levels of nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter, particularly in London. These pollutants have been linked to many long term health problems and low air quality has resulted in 9,400 deaths a year in London alone. Vehicle emissions are a huge source of nitrogen dioxide, which is why environmental agencies are clamping down on it.
Fraudulent Emissions Systems
You might think to yourself, how on earth would I cheat an emissions system, and why would I want to? But because drivers can be fined for their vehicles failing emissions checks, some choose to install cheat devices instead of getting the problems fixed. Over a 2 year period, the DVSA and their European counterparts conducted intensive roadside research and found that a significant number of drivers had these devices installed on their HGV to cut their operational costs. Some of these devices included:
- Devices designed to stop inbuilt emissions control systems from working properly.
- Removal of the diesel particulate filter or trap.
- Using a cheap, fake exhaust reduction device or diesel exhaust fluid to lower emissions reports.
- Installing illegal engine modifications which result in excessive emissions (rather than using a device to cut them).
- Removing or bypassing the exhaust gas recirculation valve.
From August 2107, any HGV driver found with these types of device on their vehicle will be given 10 days to fix the problem. If they don’t address it in that time, it is the driver who will be held responsible, fined and their vehicle removed from the road. Note here that we said ‘driver’ and not ‘legal owner’ or ‘company’. That’s because as the person driving the vehicle, it is your responsibility to ensure the vehicle is safe, in good working order and above all, legal to drive on UK roads. So from the 1st of August, make sure you are checking your vehicle thoroughly for evidence of emissions tampering devices and removing them if you find them! For more information, or to find out how to recognise one of these devices on your HGV, just get in touch with the team today.