§ Mrs. Dunwoody
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) how many rolling road brake testing machines there have been in operation within the Vehicle Inspectorate in each of the last five years; 
(2) if he will list the targets set out for the Vehicle Inspectorate regarding traffic and vehicle reinforcement for each of the last 10 years; 
(3) if he will list the number of immediate and delayed prohibitions imposed by the Vehicle Inspectorate on heavy goods vehicles for each year from 1984 to 1994; 
(4) how many inspections have been undertaken by his Department on tankers contracted by Yorkshire Water in the Yorkshire area; and how many were found to be defective; 
(5) how many traffic examiners and vehicles examiners have been employed as a result of the extra £350,000 invested in the Vehicle Inspectorate in the last year; 
(6) if he will list the procedures that have to be followed by officers from the Vehicle Inspectorate and the police following an accident involving heavy goods and passenger carrying vehicles. 
(7) if he will list the number of (a) prosecutions brought and (b) convictions in magistrates courts for (i) tachograph and hours offences and (ii) mechanical illegalities. 
§ Mr. Norris
I have asked the chief executive of the Vehicle Inspectorate executive agency to write to the hon. Member.
Letter from Ron Oliver to Mrs. Gwyneth Dunwoody, dated 5 February 1996:
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your questions relating to enforcement activities within the Vehicle Inspectorate (VI).
The number of roller brake testers in operation within VI in each of the last 5 years was
- 1991: 193
- 1992: 193
- 1993: 193
- 1994: 193
- 1995: 192
- (191 roller brake testers are in use at February 1996).
Additional roller brake testing capacity is available in vehicle operators' (designated) premises, primarily for annual statutory testing purposes. This capacity has increased by 43 roller brake testers over the past 3 years.
The number of immediate and delayed prohibitions issued from 1984 to 1994 is shown in the attached Table 1.
The key targets for enforcement activities are shown in the attached Table 2. Previous to 1991, performance on 5 activities was measured against targets related to the number of operators and vehicles. The targets were:
- a) MOT Inspections—the equivalent of 1.5 routine visits per year per garage on the broad assumption that there would be one visit. The additional effort would be spent in applying extra checks on garages where it was evident that attention was necessary.
- b) HGV Premises—the number of visits would equate to one visit per operator every 5 years. After the initial visit following granting or consideration of a licence, subsequent visits would depend upon need relative to evidence of poor maintenance or substantial changes in the nature of operation.
- c) HGV Spot Checks—the equivalent of 20% of the HGV population examined per year (including vehicles examined at operators' premises).
- d) PSV Premises—the equivalent of one visit every 5 years with each operator being visited when the licence was being granted or considered. Subsequent visits would be based upon evidence of poor maintenance or a considerable change in operating circumstances.
- e) PSV Spot Checks—the equivalent of 30% of vehicle population (including vehicles examined at operators' premises).
All heavy goods vehicles have an annual statutory roadworthiness examination and are subject to roadside checks conducted by VI regardless of the nature of the goods carried. We do not have separate information for tankers carrying water which are checked as part of this normal routine. However, we have carried out special roadside checks on water tankers in the Yorkshire area; total of 203 vehicles were checked between October and December, 29 immediate and 19 delayed prohibitions were issued.
The number of additional posts created because of additional funding provided to VI is 11.5 traffic examiners and 2.5 vehicle examiners.
In accidents involving HGVs or PSVs, a VI vehicle examiner, on notification from the Police, will arrange to inspect the vehicle at the accident site, if possible, or at a suitable location that allows a full examination of the vehicle to be carried out. Particular attention is paid to safety critical systems eg brakes, steering, tyres and suspension, and any defects which the examiner considers may have contributed to the accident recorded. When the examination is complete, the relevant information is entered on VI's accident database. The examiner may issue an immediate or delayed prohibition if, in his opinion, the vehicle is unfit for service. The Police may also request a written factual statement of his findings which can be produced as evidence in Court. In "Special Interest" accident cases eg serious accidents involving passenger carrying vehicles or serious multiple collisions with several fatalities, the procedures are the same although in the case of coaches a detailed examination of the coach interior will be carried out to establish possible causes of passenger injury eg crushing by seats, normally by specially trained teams.
Separate statistics for prosecutions are only currently available for drivers' hours and overloading. All other offences, including tachograph and mechanical illegalities, are counted under a general heading and we cannot provide separate information
The detailed breakdown for drivers hours offences for 1994/95 is as follows.
Total offences reported for prosecution Offences successfully prosecuted HGV's 2,835 2,386 PSVs 198 170
Table 1: Immediate and delayed prohibitions issued to Heavy Goods Vehicles for roadworthiness defects All prohibitions Immediate Delayed 1984–85 3,619 6,956 1985–86 5,545 8,477 1986–87 4,260 5,331 1987–88 7,693 11,727
Table 1: Immediate and delayed prohibitions issued to Heavy Goods Vehicles for roadworthiness defects All prohibitions Immediate Delayed 1988–89 7,774 10,446 1989–90 7,816 9,433 1990–91 9,229 10,615 1991–92 9,827 10,788 1992–93 11,041 11,040 1993–94 10,834 11,426 1994–95 11,516 11,788
Table 2: Key targets set for enforcement activity within the vehicle inspectorate Target set 1991–92 1992–93 1993–94 1994–95 Turnaround time on MOT documentation 1.4 days 1.4 days 1.4 days 1non applicable Production of traffic enforcement operator licence reports to Traffic Commissioners non applicable 90 per cent. within 4 weeks 1non applicable non applicable Time to produce interim or completed traffic enforcement operator reports for the Traffic Commissioner non applicable non applicable 95 per cent. of cases within 4 weeks unless another deadline has been agreed 95 per cent. within 4 weeks unless another deadline has been agreed. 95 per cent. within the agreed deadline Roadworthiness prohibition error rate non applicable non applicable non applicable 0.5 per cent. Time to return maintenance assessments for operator licence renewals and variations non applicable non applicable non applicable 95 per cent. within 6 weeks. 99 per cent. within 12 weeks Time to decide all MOT statutory appeals against refusal to issue a test certificate non applicable non applicable non applicable 99 per cent. within 5 working days Minimum number of tachographs charts to be examined—minimum 15 per cent. at roadside: 25 per cent. at operators premises non applicable non applicable non applicable HGV 1.4 million. PSV 0.145 million
Table 2: Key targets set for enforcement activity within the vehicle inspectorate Target set 1991–92 1992–93 1993–94 1994–95 Minimum number of heavy goods vehicles weighed non applicable non applicable non applicable 115,000 Weighbridge equipment availability (nationally) non applicable non applicable non applicable 90 per cent. 1 Target no longer used as a key target.