Q We supplied in November 1967 a
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Bedford KMS 158in. wheelbase tipper to a customer, the vehicle, of course, being manufacturer plated at 16 tons gvw, front axle 6 tons, rear axle 70 tons.
As a result of an accident about six months ago, the plate was changed and lost.
The vehicle was due for plating on February 17 and because the plate was missing, the vehicle was down-graded to 74 tons gvw, 6 tons front axle and 9 tons rear axle.
On the plating certificate the design weight was shown as 16 tons gvw, 6 tons and 10 tons, and the tyres were 10.00-20 radials as original equipment.
On what grounds could this vehicle be down-graded?
We have, in fact, now fitted a replacement plate and the vehicle has been up-graded, but this does not alter the original decision.
I would be interested to know whether you can shed any light on this; do you know if anyone else has had a similar experience?
A It seems clear that the problem should
never have arisen, and the ope,rator was at fault in not making sure a manufacturer's plate was fitted before the vehicle went for its test. The MoT inspector should have noted the fact at the beginning, and advised the driver of the problem that could arise. It is worth pointing out here that if the vehicle was operated at 16 tons between the time of its "accident" when the plate was lost and its test, there was a breach of regulations as 16 tons is allowed only on a vehicle carrying a manufacturer's plate: otherwise the limit is 14 tons.
To follow the regulations dealing with weights and plating one becomes involved with "pre-1968", "prior-1968and -post1968". The first term does not appear in the regulations but it is generally used when discussing the subject: the other two appear a number of times in the Construction and Use Regulations. A "pre-1963" vehicle is one first used before January 1 1968 and the difference when one comes to the "prior-1968category is that two extra requirements are added. These are that the vehicle must be equipped with a plate (a manufacturer's) and have brakes giving 50 per cent service efficiency and 25 per cent secondary.
A "post-1968vehicle simp!y means one first used on or after January 1 1968 when the same higher braking figures were necessary and when all vehicles had to be plated: before this date plating and the higher efficiencies were only required if the vehicle was to operate at the higher weights introduced in 1964.
This is all very complicated, like all our current regulations, but it means that the Bedford KM without its plate became a "pre1968vehicle and as such reverted to a gross weight limit of 14 tons and needed only 45 per cent service and 20 per cent secondary braking. Having got to the MoT station in this condition the test had to be carried out on a "pre-1968" basis, In other words, the braking efficiency needed to be at a lower figure and in relation to the lower gross weight.