Afternoon round-up: DVSA urges winter checks, new Tesla truck and sports car, UK’s largest autonomous trial kicks off


DVSA urges delivery drivers to perform winter checks

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has urged delivery drivers to perform winter checks on their vehicles prior to the Christmas rush. Winter driving 2

The organisation said there was a 15% increase in the weight of goods being transported by road during the Black Friday and Christmas period in 2016, and that the 171 UK road deaths recorded in December marked a significant increase on previous years.

It added that DVSA enforcement staff issued 45,866 penalties for mechanical defects in 2015 and 2016, most of which could have been easily prevented if the driver had carried out a walkaround inspection.

Sarah Bell, lead traffic commissioner for enforcement, said: “The driver walkaround check is an absolutely critical part of every maintenance regime.

“Operators need to make sure their procedures are effective and this goes beyond drivers completing defect reporting sheets. They need to be satisfied the checks are being done properly and thoroughly, that defects are being rectified and that commercial decisions never override safety issues.”

Tesla reveals electric truck and roadster

Tesla has revealed an electric articulated lorry, known as the Semi, and a high-performance sports car, dubbed the Roadster, which is due for launch in 2020 and said to be capable of 0-100mph in 4.2 seconds. tesla-press-semi-release

The Semi is said to have an electric range of 500 miles and is due to enter production in 2019. It is designed to compete with conventional diesel-engined trucks and is capable of towing 36,287kgs – the maximum weight permitted on US roads.

The company has claimed that, despite a higher and as-yet unannounced list price, it will be cheaper than a conventional diesel lorry after running costs are taken into account. However, the claimed economy and practicalities have been questioned by many, while Tesla has is also struggling with severe delays in production for its Model 3.

Largest on-road trial of autonomous cars kicks off

The UK’s largest trial of autonomous vehicles on public roads to date has commenced in Coventry.

Operated by Arup-led consortium, UK Autodrive, which includes partners from Jaguar Land Rover, Ford and Tata Motors European Technical Centre (TMETC), the trials are exploring the benefits of having cars that can ‘talk’ to each other and their surroundings – with connected traffic lights, emergency vehicle warnings and emergency braking alerts among the technologies being tested.

“The fundamental purpose of UK Autodrive is to get connected and autonomous vehicle technology out onto UK roads, so the start of trialling on the streets of Coventry is clearly a major landmark both for the project and for the UK as a whole,” said Tim Armitage, UK Autodrive project director.

“Our previous private test track trials showed that the technology works but it is only on real roads that we will start to see the scale of the benefits that it can bring.”