§ Mr. Heddle
asked the Secretary of State for Transport what steps have been taken by his Department to persuade operators of heavy commercial vehicles to fit side guards; 373W what steps have been taken to ensure that the law in this respect is being complied with; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mrs. Chalker
Side guards have been required since October 1983 to be fitted on all new lorries exceeding 3,500 kilograms gross weight, and on all new trailers exceeding 1,020 kilograms unladen weight. They are also required to be fitted on any semi-trailer regardless of date of manufacture, whose gross weight exceeds 26,009 kilograms if it is attached to a tractor whose plated gross train weight exceeds 32,520 kilograms. There are already many heavy lorries on the roads with side guards fitted and the numbers are growing year by year as new vehicles replace older ones taken out of service.
Enforcement of vehicle construction and use requirements generally is a police responsibility, but it is also carried out by the Department's vehicle examiners, especially at the Heavy Goods Vehicle Testing Stations when vehicles are brought in for their annual test. We have no evidence of non-compliance on any significant scale.