The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has backed plans to extend into Scotland the stopping powers of enforcement officers that currently exist in England, Wales and, via the Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA), into Northern Ireland. The proposals will also remove the cumbersome administrative process and will streamline the accreditation of VOSA officers.
The leading trade body has long been a strong supporter of affording enforcement officers greater powers to stop commercial vehicles.
James Firth, FTA’s Head of Road Freight and Enforcement Policy, said:
"FTA members support the move to allow VOSA and DVA, with their specialist knowledge and equipment, to focus on issues of vehicle roadworthiness and road safety. It is simply a better use of time and resources, with the added benefit of freeing-up police time."
However, FTA warns that better guidance will be needed to provide drivers with safeguards against bogus VOSA officials.
"Sadly, reports of criminal gangs impersonating VOSA officers to undertake vehicle hijacking, very often involving serious assaults on drivers, are increasingly common.
"Guidance, similar to that which exists for drivers carrying high-valued loads, needs to be issued to protect drivers who may be genuinely suspicious of the vehicle instructing them to pull over, but equally fearful of prosecution if the officer turns out to be authentic."