I am writing to see if I can get any guidance from DVSA regarding PSVAR – on live lanes on motorways in particular – but also generally.
My concerns regard experiencing a breakdown. I am sure you are familiar with an incident in Newport Pagnell in 2017 involving a minibus and two lorries. Eight people died and the two lorry drivers were jailed for causing death by dangerous or careless driving.
All lane running motorways are a point of contention anyway; The AA did a risk assessment and refused to pick up from them, so it must feel the risk is ‘avoidable or unreasonable.’
Also, this would increase the time a vehicle is in a ‘kill zone.’
Parking that one for the moment, the traditional wisdom for breakdowns is to get passengers over the barrier(s) and away from the motorway to a quarantine safe area. If you do not follow this advice you could be regarded as being reckless and negligent.
However, the legal obligation(s) under PSVAR is new, so this advice went back pre-PSVAR. Wheelchair accessible vehicles are either side- or rear-loading and I think everyone has seen the signs which say ‘please leave a 3m gap’.
So in reality, coaches or buses that are side loading would need to park in almost the second lane of the motorway, while welfare vehicles that are generally rear loading would require both the driver and wheelchair users to ‘walk’ backwards up a live lane of a motorway.
Clearly, in this case the disabled passengers are not being afforded the same level of safety and service as able-bodied passengers, as required under the the provisions of the Equality Act 2010.
Furthermore, how do you get wheelchairs over barriers? This would be worse with welfare buses, where all passengers might be disabled or infirm, so unable to lift their fellow passengers.
Obviously, any official guidance would be appreciated. Doing a risk assessment on this is easy – coming up with operational procedures isn’t.
Name and address supplied.