Crackdown on “cowboy” transporters

  • The Vehicle Inspectorate is cracking down on horse transporters operating without the correct licences

    Horse transporters who flout licencing and insurance laws could have their vehicles impounded and either sold or scrapped, under new powers that were introduced at the beginning of 2002.

    Individuals offering a horse transporting service for financial gain must comply with the Vehicle Inspectorate’s (VI) rules which includes having an operators licence and hire and reward insurance.

    The crack down aims to ensure all vehicles are safe to carry horses and are in a roadworthy condition, as well as preventing operators from breaking the law.

    We are concentrating on targeting known offenders,” said a VI spokesperson. “Most cases where vehicles are impounded are a result of tip-offs from members of the public via the VI helpline.”

    While the new powers are being focused on cowboy operators, The Organisation of Horsebox and Trailer Owners (OHTO) is concerned that some horsebox owners may find the new laws are relevant to them, without them realising it.

    “Many people have been tempted to accept payment in return for transporting horses, often with the best intentions,” said Jon Phillips, managing director of the OHTO. “We have even heard of horsebox owners being recruited by rescue companies to assist others in the case of breakdown.

    “This is fine if the individual concerned has a personal operators’ licence and the correct hire and reward insurance. If not, they will find the new powers could be applied to them and that they stand a chance of losing their vehicle.

    “Being told that the company concerned holds a licence and insurance that covers you is not sufficient, no matter how reliable or well known that company appears to be.”

    For more information contact the VI’s national helpline (tel: 0870 6060 440).

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