The government is planning to outlaw the removal of sideguards and rear under-run devices on HGVs as part of its drive to reduce cyclist deaths across the UK.

The plan is contained in the DfT’s British Road Safety Statement (BRSS) published this week, which also proposes doubling the fine for HGV drivers using mobiles whilst driving.

It also confirms that the long awaited HGV platoon trials will go ahead next year.

The move to make sideguards and rear under-run devices compulsory on all HGVs is modelled on London’s Safer Lorry Scheme, which was introduced in the capital in September. Currently some construction and heavy plant is exempt to enable access to off-road locations.

The BRSS states: “Our efforts to improve occupational road safety will maintain a strong focus on how to reduce deaths, including cyclist deaths, caused by HGVs.

“We will consult on legislative changes to ensure that sideguards and rear under-run devices, which are required for new vehicle approval, remain fitted to HGVs throughout their life and are not removed.”

MT understands that the requirment would be for new vehicles, and existing HGVs with exemptions would not require a retrofit. "The proposal is that vehicles fitted with sideguards and under run devices  for the purpose of their approval and registration when new, will be required to retain and maintain the sideguards," a spokesman for the DfT said.

Other measures include harsher penalties for HGV drivers caught using hand held mobile phones.  Whilst motorists caught using mobile phones will face an increase from the current three penalty points to four and the fine rise from £100 to £150, HGV drivers will see their penalty points double from three to six with the fine upped from £100 to £150.

The BRSS also includes confirmation that the long awaited HGV platooning trials will take place next year, although it stops short of naming a date.

The paper states: “We are planning trials of HGV platoons to investigate their potential use on the UK infrastructure and their effects on UK traffic. We expect that these trials, which will be conducted in conjunction with Highways England, vehicle manufacturers and the haulage industry, will commence in 2016.”

The consultation is planned for 2016. No decisions have been taken on its length.