Concerns over DfT proposals for new regulations to create a new offences for tampering with a system, part or component of a vehicle intended or adapted to be used on a road

Clearly what can be seen from the announcement released today by the DfT on the GOV.UK website is a serious concern for classic car enthusiasts and the businesses that provide the essential services and replacement parts support, so participating in the consultation is necessary so the clear views and concerns of the classic car world highlighting real concerns are put to the DfT promoters of their proposals. Hopefully then realism and common sense will help shape better, substantially revised proposals.

Let's hope a wiser approach is adopted by DfT staff with a greater awareness of unintended consequences and with a better focus on how to achieve desirable outcomes without creating such a damaging approach as can be seen in the DfT "open consultation" announcement. Many classic car enthusiasts would usually read news of a Government consultation and wearily move on but with these extraordinary DfT proposals and the damage they could do to the classic car sector, participation in the consultation is necessary.

Posted: 211028
DfT says "we want the UK to be a world leader in shaping the future of transport. A flexible and forward-looking regulatory framework for transport is critical to achieving this. The Future of Transport regulatory review aims to address areas of transport regulation that are outdated, a barrier to innovation, or not designed with new technologies and business models in mind. This consultation is the third opportunity for us to gather your views on the regulatory review.
The section in the "Open Consultation" webpage that has caused particular concerns for classic car enthusiasts is:

Tackling tampering
We will create new offences for tampering with a system, part or component of a vehicle intended or adapted to be used on a road. This will enable us to address existing gaps in the legislation, ensuring cleaner and safer vehicles. We will also create new offences for tampering with non-road mobile machinery (NRMM) and for advertising ‘tampering’ services or products. This will strengthen our ability to enforce compliance in this area.

We are aware that the Law Commissions in both their first and third consultations on automated vehicles have considered tampering. We await their final recommendations and would welcome views on our proposals, as follows. Specifically, we would look to create:


> a specific offence for supplying, installing and/or advertising, a ‘tampering product’ for a vehicle or NRMM – this would apply where a principal effect of the product is to bypass, defeat, reduce the effectiveness of or render inoperative a system, part or component (the product may be a physical part or component, hardware and/or software).

> specific offence for removing, reducing the effectiveness of, or rendering inoperative a system, part or component for a vehicle/NRMM and advertising such services.

> specific offence for allowing for use or providing a vehicle or NRMM that has had the operations described in the previous 2 points performed on it.

> a new power to require economic operators to provide information, where a service/product they have supplied amounts to or enables ‘tampering’ with a vehicle or NRMM – this would apply in any of the above senses and include requirements to provide relevant information on the quantities of products sold or modified.


Concerns
> Proposals set out in the DfT consultation would see "tampering" cover all existing vehicles (including classic cars like MGV8s) which could very easily include replacements or modifications that often have environmental and safety benefits. Just how would they define "tampering"? Would renovating Dunlop composite wheels, fitting electronic ignition upgrades, using Halogen headlight bulbs or LED side light replacements, retrofitting DRLs, fitting more modern relays or protective fuses be regarded as "tampering" and undesirable? In the context of E10 fuel would fitting Gates Barricade ethanol resistant fuel hose be regarded as "tampering" even though it would improve safety from resisting damage to fuel systems and hoses and avoid consequential fuel leaks? The list goes on and on.

> Likelihood of unintended consequences for the classic car community and specialist service and maintenance providers - it could kill off the tuning industry and restrict the scope and viability of the replacement parts providers too. That could reduce the repair and reuse of older cars, surely a cornerstone of the green and renewable agenda.

> Stern and assertive wording of the DfT webpage on the GOV.UK website is uncomfortable for many readers.

Let's hope a wiser approach is adopted by DfT staff with a greater awareness of unintended consequences and a better focus on how to achieve desirable outcomes without creating such a damaging approach as can be seen in the DfT "open consultation" announcement. Many classic car enthusiasts would usually read news of a Government consultation and wearily move on but with these extraordinary DfT proposals and the damage they could do to the classic car sector, participation in the consultation is necessary.

How to respond
Clearly what can be seen from the announcement released today by the DfT on the GOV.UK website is a serious concern for classic car enthusiasts and the businesses that provide the essential services and replacement parts support, so participating in the consultation is necessary so the clear views and concerns of the classic car world highlighting real concerns are put to the DfT promoters of their proposals. Hopefully then realism and common sense will help shape better, substantially revised proposals.

The DfT webpage says:
The consultation period began on 28th September 2021 and will run until 11:45pm on 22nd November 2021. Ensure that your response reaches us before the closing date.

You may send your consultation response via the online survey by downloading the response form and emailing it to us at FutureOfTransport@dft.gov.uk directly with your comments by post at:
Future of Transport Regulatory Review
Department for Transport Zone 1-3, Floor 3
Great Minster House
33 Horseferry Road
London SW1P 4DR