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At the end of the day

NEW HEAD OF ENGINEERING POLICY FOR FTA. The Freight Transport Association is pleased to announce the appointment of Andy Mair to the position of Head of Engineering Policy. Andy succeeds Geoff Day, who retired earlier this year. He has been with the Association for six years and was previously an area manager in FTA's Vehicle Inspection Service. Before joining FTA Andy worked for 14 years as a vehicle technician at a truck dealership.

Andy's remit will include building FTA's profile with Government, vehicle manufacturers, oil companies and FTA members. This includes the manner in which new legislation impacts on the work of the FTA Vehicle Inspection Service. With the threatened deluge of new legislation on exhaust emissions, carbon dioxide reduction and alternative fuels, Andy's job will be to understand and anticipate the views of FTA members and to present persuasive cases to Westminster and Brussels which deliver proposals that industry can live with.

Subjects high on Andy's agenda in the near future include the current situation regarding the fitment of sideguards, where the regulations which VOSA wants to enforce with greater vigour from next spring are in conflict with the requirements of the Health and Safety Executive, which wants something rather different. Vehicle operators, with special on-board equipment, are caught in between. HSE and VOSA need to reach consensus on what is an acceptable sideguard configuration for vehicles registered from now on. Vehicles currently fitted with sideguards that fail VOSA's strict interpretation of the rules, but which do not present a danger to other road users, should be exempt from any retrospective requirement for additional pieces of sideguard to be fitted.

The confusion regarding headlamp aim and its impact on HGV test failures is a problem for both operators and repairers and must also be resolved soon. Andy Mair says, 'We now have the farcical situation of vehicles passing a voluntary headlamp test prior to being submitted for the full annual test, where they then fail on headlamp aim. This cannot be right. Under the OCRS scheme, test passes and failures are increasingly important in relation to the operator's score and we must get a solution to this problem so that we all know where we are.'

Andy is keen to forge closer links between FTA's engineering policy department and the Association's team of over 120 vehicle inspectors. The greater the feedback of daily experience in the field then the quicker operational problems can be addressed and resolved. Andy says, 'FTA's field team of vehicle inspectors holds an immense wealth of knowledge and information about the realities of commercial vehicle engineering in daily operation. We need to utilise that information in order to reduce current engineering problems and improve efficiency.'

Andy Mair is 37 years old and lives in Northwich, Cheshire. He is a motorcycle enthusiast in his spare time and is keen on music.

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