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1st February 1996
Page 5
Page 5, 1st February 1996 — WHY ARE WE WAITING?
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LEASE DO NOT ADJUST YOUR SET, NORMAL SERVICE WILL BE RESUMED AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. IN THE MEANTIME HERE IS SOME MUSIC..." Remember the good old days of black and white television? When the picture went missing you could almost see the sweat pouring off the continuity announcer as he struggled to fill in for minute after agonising minute while the rest of us twiddled Our thumbs and stared at the ceiling. The Department of Transport's survey into unlicensed operators is getting to be a bit like that. Two weeks ago Commercial Motor pondered the question: "How many unlicensed truck operators are there in the UK?" When we asked the DOT it couldn't come up with an answer, despite having carried out a random roadside check on 2,000 trucks last October. Judging by the latest admission from Roads Minister Steven Norris that there is a "technical problem" with the DOT survey, we're not likely to get our answer for at least a few more weeks. So in the meantime here's some music...According to Norris the results may be technically flawed and may have to be re-done. Which begs the question, why? In lieu of an official answer we're left to speculate. Could it be that the number of trucks run by unlicensed operators and stopped by the Vehicle Inspectorate as part of the survey is so high that it will be an embarrassment to the DOT? Norris has promised that if the survey reveals more than 2% of operators are running without 0-licences he'll introduce impounding as an ultimate weapon against the cowboys. Unfortunately the survey sample may not be accurate enough. If it hasn't produced any meaningful figures upon which Norris can act then the DOT may have to repeat the process, but with more trucks. But isn't this all academic? Does it really matter what the actual number of unlicensed operators is? Surely the whole point is that the law requires all but a select few to have an 0-licence. And if you haven't got a licence when you should have, then you shouldn't be running an HGV. It's as simple as that. Why waste any more time waiting for a survey that may or may not _give the DOT what it's looking For? If the fact that unlicensed operators are running on our roads isn't reason enough to introduce impounding, then we don't what is. We hope it won't be long before "normal" programmes are resumed. Meanwhile, here's some more music...


Organisations: Department of Transport
People: Steven Norris

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