Be prepared: what does the new roadworthiness legislation mean for you?

The new legislation

After years of discussion, new Europe-wide legislation on wheel procurement is due to come into force in May 2018. The law will look specifically at the critical safety concerns of wheels and the use of more stringent periodic and roadside tests. While there are challenges to face, the overhaul is also a chance to reassess commercial vehicle best practice and set new standards moving forwards.

But who will the new law affect? If you are responsible for ensuring that fleets run safely, you’ll have to comply with the legislation – whether you are a fleet operator or company director. With current legislation varying greatly between countries in Europe, it can be confusing to know where responsibility lies for wheel safety, as well as what needs to be done to ensure you’re compliant with the new law.

So, what’s new?

To summarise, the ‘periodic roadworthiness tests for motor vehicles and their trailers and repealing Directive 2009/40/EC’ legislation replaces the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007. The new law has set out seven strategic objectives and identified actions for safer vehicles. We have detailed the main changes in our white paper, but there are two points that you need to know before the law takes effect:

1. Emphasis on procurement history
Current legislation means that a wheel could be involved in a serious accident, possibly incurring catastrophic damage, but be back on the road the next day. The new EU roadworthiness law brings into context several minimum essential requirements when purchasing second-hand or potentially inferior wheels. This now makes it critical to have a record of where your wheels have been purchased, emphasising why it is important to buy from reputable sellers, and also the need to achieve full purchase transparency across the supply chain.

2. Liability across the industry
The new law aims to add further weight to the Corporate Manslaughter Act, highlighting and emphasising the key roles played by those across the industry. The existing corporate manslaughter law in the UK – the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 –addresses the company directors’ liability following an accident. It states that they alone are responsible and can be charged for manslaughter following failure to apply a full risk assessment in the purchase of a wheel. However, the new law will also outline the key roles played by commercial vehicle fleet managers and product purchasers in the purchasing and maintenance of wheels.

A new emphasis on wheels

This shift in focus to procurement transparency and liability across the industry means it is becoming increasingly important for wheels to be considered a safety critical item, as they are now recognised in the EU Roadworthiness Act. To comply with the new legislation, and ensure a safer commercial vehicle industry, there must be:

  • More effective and regular vehicle checks with an emphasis on wheels
  • Better wheel data
  • Traceability of the products operating within fleets.

This emphasises the need for those across the industry to seek proper advice and provide more guidance to ensure wheels are EU-approved, fully compliant and roadworthy before the 2018 law comes into force in May.

For more detailed information ahead of the upcoming legislation, download our best practice guide to find out how to spot problem wheels and our tips for keeping your fleet safe.

Wheel safety white paper

Wheel safety remains a critical issue for fleets, but it continues to be largely overlooked in industry. This white paper discusses: