A crackdown by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has revealed that one in 12 HGVs has been fitted with an emissions cheating device.
The DVSA started checking for the emissions fraud devices last August when they found widespread evidence of their use in the UK and EU.
In the four months from August to November, the DVSA found 293 cheat devices in 3,735 trucks that were stopped and searched.
That’s 8% of the total trucks fitted with devices like AdBlue emulators. These are the most common type of cheat device bypasses engine management systems that can force high emission lorries of the road.
Of the 1,784 vehicles registered in mainland Britain that were checked by the agency, 151 (8.5%) were fitted with the emission cheat devices. Of the 1,657 vehicles registered outside the UK, 82 contained the cheat devices (5%).
In its report, the DVSA singled out Northern Irish trucks as particularly bad offenders. Of the 294 trucks from Northern Ireland, 60 (20%) had devices fitted.
“DVSA’s priority is to protect you from unsafe drivers and vehicles. We are committed to taking dangerous lorries off Britain’s roads. Stopping emissions fraud is a vital part of that,” said DVSA chief executive Gareth Llewellyn.
He continued: “Anyone who flouts the law is putting the quality of our air and the health of vulnerable people, at risk. We won’t hesitate to take action against these drivers, operators and vehicles.”
Hauliers that were found using the cheat devices were given 10 days to remove them. If they don’t comply then they will be faced with a fine and will be prevented from using a vehicle on the road.
DVSA enforcement staff can insist that a vehicle is taken off the road immediately if they find a driver or operator is a repeat offender.
Operators can also be subject to an investigation to check whether other fleet vehicles are fitted with the same devices. More than 100 of these investigations are continuing.
Earlier this month, one Stoke-on-Trent haulage firm recently lost its license to operate vehicles after one of its vehicles was discovered with an AdBlue emulator device.
The RHA has backed the Government crackdown, suggesting that rogue operators have damaged the reputation of the haulage sector.
“We’re very clear that it’s completely unacceptable to falsify emissions readings,” said RHA chief executive Richard Burnett. “The industry is making great strides in helping reduce harmful toxins through the adoption greener vehicles and technologies, so we take a very dim view of the few who use emulators and other methods to cheat the system.”
“Our message to the vast majority of hauliers who operate responsibly is that we fully support DVSA’s enforcement action and welcome further clamp downs on rogue operators.”