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Simplify ADR regulations for small goods vehicles

Comment 28th July 2010

Currently, drivers of all vehicles over 3.5 tonnes (ie Transit size and up) which are used to transport dangerous goods by road are required to take an ADR course and pass a test on the topic every 5 years.  Costs for this course are at least £300 per person, plus 2 to 5 days off work since the training course has to be attended in person.  The examination costs another £60 to £250, and is marked centrally by the Scottish Qualifications Agency.

Of course safety is important, but the ADR training course is over-the-top for drivers of small vehicles, and much too expensive for small companies.  It should be possible to take at least the refresher training online, or for small companies only operating small veicles (ie 3.5-5 tonnes) to have delegated authority to run the training courses and exams for their own staff once a manager has attended the training course and passed an exam.  Of course, the small company taking this responsibility would have to take on liability if they fail to run it properly.

The current system is bureaucratic, and adds nothing to the saftey of road users or drivers.  A huge industry has sprung up testing drivers, often cheating so that the instruction company can attain high pass marks.  It is box-checking and not value-added.

Why does this matter?

ADR qulifications for small firms engaged in the transportation of dangerous goods by road, using small vehicles, are ineffective and massively expensive for those small companies.  For these operators, the responsibiliity for running a safe system should be delegated to an accountable manager within the SME.  As a result, actual safety levels would increase, company management would be more involved in saftey management, and a raft of box-checking civil servants and consultants would be eliminated.

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