§ Mr. Patrick Thompson
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if the final report of the task force on lorry trailer maintenance is yet available.
§ Mr. Atkins
I am grateful to the trailer task force for its useful work on this and am arranging for copies of its final report to be placed in the Library. Well-designed and well-maintained trailer braking systems are important for road safety. Since the task force produced its interim report last July (Official Report, 6 July 1989, col. 259) manufacturers have been adjusting and improving their service brake designs. Advice has been drawn up for operators preparing vehicles for test and discussions are in hand with the industry on a code of lorry maintenance generally.
Following the further work of the task force, we are considering making plating conformity a condition of acceptance of vehicles for test rather than part of the test itself, and also dropping the present secondary brake performance test. We shall be discussing further with the industry the clear identification of responsibilities for maintenance of rented trailers and ways of ensuring that the move to European Commission whole vehicle type approval for trailers contributes to the safety and cost-effectiveness of trailer construction and use.