Dr Brian Iddon, MP for Bolton South East, October 2009

october09Brian has been campaigning fiercely for the early introduction of mandatory retro-reflective markings on HGV’s since early 2006 [1]. In October alone, Brian asked four questions and tabled an Early Day Motion on this single issue. He is furious, because in September the Government went back on a promise to introduce the requirement in 2010. Instead of giving up in the face of adversity, Brian has reacted by stepping up his campaign and pushing the Government even harder.

Research undertaken for the Department for Transport (DfT) in 2005 showed that mandatory markings would save at least 15 lives every year [2].

A directive from the European Union will come into force in 2011, making it mandatory for HGV’s to have retro-reflective markings. In September, The DfT announced that it would further delay introduction until the EU deadline of 2011, going back on their most recent commitment to bring in the mandatory requirement from July 2010. At an earlier stage, the Government expected it to be implemented by 2009.

Brian has spearheaded a campaign to have the measure introduced as a matter of urgency. Brian has tirelessly kept up pressure on the DfT by writing letters to its ministers, and meeting with them to explain his concerns about repeatedly delaying its introduction. He tabled two Early Day Motions in 2009 alone [3]. In response to the Government’s announcement in September, Brian has asked three written [4] and one oral [5] question relating to this issue in an attempt to highlight the error of the delay and to uncover the reasoning behind it.

The DfT has said implementation has been delayed because of the financial burden it would place on the industry. However, they have not revealed who they have consulted to ascertain that the industry agrees. The Freight Transport Association has stated that this measure would have a “minimal impact” [6] on the industry, which, in any case, they would have to comply with from 2011. Brian made a point of highlighting this to the Government in the hope that they would re-examine their decision.

Brian isn’t going to stop now. He hopes to challenge the Government’s u-turn and persuade them to agree to an earlier introduction. By the EU deadline for introduction in 2011, it is likely that another 30 lives will be lost because HGV’s aren’t equipped with retro-reflective markings.

Brian said,

“I am delighted to receive this award from Brake. On the very day that I had raised this as an issue in the Road safety Bill’s Standing Committee I saw a sports car under a HGV on the slip road leading to Stafford service station on the M6 when I was travelling home late at night. It convinced me that I had to carry on with this campaign.”

Brian is going to ask for a meeting with the Minister for Transport to call his attention to the issue and request that the date to be brought forward again. He has been working with REFLECT, a single issue group set up to lobby Parliament, and they expect to call a parliamentary meeting in December.

Brake believes that the Government’s delay in implementing the law is completely unjustifiable and shows a shocking lack of urgency in implementing a straight forward measure that would save lives. The DfT should immediately withdraw their decision from September to show that they have due concern for the devastation caused to families by road deaths involving poorly visible HGV’s. Brake congratulates Brian for his persistence and offers him full support in his campaign.

[1] http://www.brianiddon.org.uk/media/060403_road_safety.htm
[2] Assessment of the safety benefit of retro reflective markings on HGVs and buses, Lawton C, Richardson J and Welsh R, The University of Loughborough, May 2005.
[3] Early Day Motions are a form of parliamentary petition that MP’s can use to lobby the Government and gather support on an issue. Click to view Brian’s two Early Day Motions EDM 37599 EDM 39244.
[4] Written questions are submitted by MP’s to the appropriate department to research and answer. Click to view each of Brian’s October questions. Parliamentary question 293686 Parliamentary question 293685 Parliamentary question 293683.
[5] Oral questions are questions that the MP asks directly to the Minister in the chamber. Click to view Brian’s oral question Oral question 294796.
[6] Commercial Motor Magazine, September 2009

Tags: awards vehicle safety standards parliamentarian road crash hgv