The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) will this year, begin the registration of trailers across the country. The exercise will cover both imported and locally manufactured trailers.
It will see the issuance of separate licence plates for the vehicles (heads) and the trailers. The number to be displayed in front of the vehicles will, therefore, be different from the number displayed behind the trailers.
The Road Traffic Regulation, 2012 (LI 2180) stipulates that ‘a person shall not use a trailer on a road unless the trailer is registered and licensed separately by the Licensing Authority’, in this case, DVLA.
Apart from providing the trailers with number plates, the trailers would be engraved with chassis numbers as identity. Currently, it is only the head of the trailer that is registered.
This came to light when the Ministry of Transport engaged a selected number of journalists at Elmina in the Central Region. The event, which was attended by about 40 journalists, offered DVLA and the National Road Safety Commission (NRSC) the platform to enlighten the participants on their operations.
It has been observed that a number of disabled trailers, particularly on the highways, have claimed lives and properties when moving vehicles ran into the trailers. This is because they do not have any reflective tape, number plate and other ancillaries that provide signals to moving vehicles.
Another disturbing trend is that investigators find it difficult to sometimes trace the owners of the trailers because they do not bear registration numbers nor chassis numbers.
Another observation by the Authority is that in instances where the trailers developed a fault, the heads are sometimes taken away onto another trailer thereby abandoning the trailer on the highway. In some cases, also, goods loaded by some of the unregistered trailers are diverted to different destinations, making it difficult to be traced.
The Director of Vehicle Inspection and Registration (VIR), George Ackom, said the policy is in line with international best practice.
He explained that the plan to
have both elements registered separately has long existed in the country’s road
safety regulations but have not been implemented.
According to him, this has been an existing provision in the road traffic regulation LI 2180 and till date, we have not been able to operationalize it noting that ‘we are now going by the dictates of the Geneva convention of 1954 that trailers are regarded separately from the head that draws it,’ stressing that the Authority intends to ensure that the regulation is adhered to.
As part of the engagement process with stakeholders and to acquaint themselves with their work, members the Trailer Registration Committee of DVLA begun stakeholder engagement to interact with trailer owners, drivers and manufacturers and is taking steps to visit garages where trailers are manufactured.
It also paid a working visit to the Kantanka Automobile assembling plant at Gomoa Mpota in the Central Region and ECL, a private vehicle test station near Tema to familiarize themselves with the etching of chassis numbers on the frames.
The General Manager of Kantanka Automobile, Mr. Kojo Kujoji and an official of Elie Company Limited (ECL), a private test station, Mr. Samuel Sackey, pledged their determination to assist DVLA in that regard.
As part of its work, the Committee, led by its chairman, the Deputy Chief Executive, Mr. Kwame Appiah Kubi, interacted with owners and manufactures of trailers at Kumasi to educate them on the said project, saying, it will inure to the benefit of owners as the trailers as they are provided with identity.
The manufacturers and owners expressed gratitude to DVLA for the initiative, describing the move as laudable.