x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Dubai lorry drivers now required to register trailers

New requirements for lorry drivers mean the trailers they haul must now be checked and registered once a year.

DUBAI // The trailers and semi-trailers pulled behind lorry tractors now require registration and an annual safety inspection.

The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) says it plans to have all commercial trailers registered by next April. Before, only the main body of the lorry needed to be registered and inspected for safety.

"We are doing this as part of the RTA's road safely initiative," said Ahmed Hashem Bahrozyan, chief executive of the RTA's licensing agency.

"It's not enough just having the vehicles pass inspection when the trailers they are hauling can be more than twice the size and can end up just as worn down from the road as the vehicles do."

Security concerns were also a reason for the new programme, Mr Bahrozyan said.

"These trailers are not always on the road - they can be parked somewhere detached from the truck, and there is no way to prove ownership or know if the trailer is stolen," he said.

"Initially we wanted to put different license plates on the trailers than those of the truck, but that would have violated the current traffic laws. So instead we issued them ID numbers which will be registered with the chassis number.

"We have faced some issues with locally made trailers as they didn't have a chassis number. We had to get a special machine that would emboss the trailer with a new chassis number we have provided."

The programme will be implemented in eight phases depending on the type of trailer.

The first phase began in February with hazardous materials and fuel transport trailers. The second phase was registering vehicle transporters, which took place in April.

Currently, the programme is in phase three, the registration of flatbed trailers.

The other phases will include fresh and waste water tankers, container trailers, tipper trailers, refrigerated trailers, cement mixers and low-bed trailers, in that order.

All other commercial trailers will begin registration next March. By the end of July, 1,684 trailers had been registered.

"Response from the industry has been a bit slow," Mr Bahrozyan said. "Companies have been informed of the new regulation and have been given a three-month window from the start of the phase to complete the registration."

The RTA will continue to run awareness campaigns and hand out flyers, but will look to Dubai Police to enforce the regulation once the grace period ends.

At the moment, the RTA is only concerned with the registration of commercial trailers. It plans eventually to expand this regulation to cover recreational trailers, such as those used to transport jet skis, boats and motorcycles.

malkhan@thenational.ae