The Legal Status of Chapter 8
Chapter 8 impacts operators of small and large vehicles, from cars, vans and road maintenance trucks to HGVs that intentionally stop for inspections or works purposes on high-speed roads.
Vehicle livery that is compliant with Chapter 8 is considered Department for Transport best practice, and vehicles that stop on UK roads for the purposes above should achieve compliance. If you don’t comply, you leave yourself open to legal action if an accident happens involving your vehicle.
Chapter 8 represents a reasonable way of enforcing the Health and Safety at Work (NI) Order 1978, the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and other linked regulations.
It lays out a code of practice which enables the legal requirements to be satisfied in many different circumstances. While it doesn’t have statutory force (apart from Northern Ireland), several of the basic principles are also dealt with in the Safety at Street Works and Road Works – A Code of Practice.
Chapter 8 Compliant Markings
All vehicles that stop on the highway for inspections or works purposes shall:
– Have high-visibility rear markings
– Be a conspicuous colour.
Chapter 8 chevrons are available from https://www.vehiclechevrons.com/.
The DfT traffic signs manual is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/traffic-signs-manual.
High-visibility markings should consist of either:
– Chevron markings made up of alternating strips of ‘Class Ref 2’ or orange-red retro-reflective-grade material and non-retro-reflective fluorescent yellow material – each at least 150mm wide – or a solid block of retro-reflective material which is fluorescent orange-red. These markings must cover as much as possible of the vehicle’s rear.
All maintenance vehicles should bear text stating ‘HIGHWAY MAINTENANCE’ or ‘MOTORWAY MAINTENANCE’ that is at least 70mm high.
Strips of a material of micro-prismatic grade that are at least 50mm wide should be fitted on either side of vehicles, while red retro-reflective tape must cover every rear-facing edge of guardrails, open doors and equipment lockers.
Where high-visibility markings on the rear are obscured by devices on the vehicle, extra rear markings shall be employed.
The specifications for chevron markings are split into three categories:
– Vehicles less than 7.5 tonnes (cars and vans)
– Vehicles heavier than 7.5 tonnes (gritters, sweepers, recovery trucks)
– Mobile and incident support units