One in two for­eign trucks is dan­ger­ous

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - ELECTION RESULTS -

HALF the for­eign lor­ries on Bri­tain’s roads have se­ri­ous safety de­fects that could cause crashes, ac­cord­ing to the latest fig­ures from the Ve­hi­cle and Op­er­a­tor Ser­vices Agency. East­ern Euro­pean ve­hi­cles are the worst, with pro­hi­bi­tion no­tices placed on 62 per cent of those tested from the Czech Repub­lic, 61 per cent of those from Ro­ma­nia, 55 per cent of those from Latvia and 52 per cent of those from Bul­garia. For­eign lorry driv­ers are more than twice as likely as Bri­tish driv­ers to have breached rules gov­ern­ing the amount of time spent be­hind the wheel, says the agency. And for­eign ve­hi­cles are more likely to be over­loaded, with a third of those tested from Spain, Por­tu­gal and Ire­land over the weight limit. Kent County Coun­cil leader Cllr Paul Carter said he was alarmed at the fig­ures, which are based on tests car­ried out by the agency. He said: “This level of bla­tant break­ing of safety rules can­not be tol­er­ated. “KCC has ad­vo­cated a Brit­disc sys­tem to en­able the au­thor­i­ties to quickly track down who owns the lorry and who is re­spon­si­ble. “The De­part­ment for Trans­port is look­ing at this and is due to re­port in the au­tumn. “It is time for much tougher en­force­ment.” Un­der the scheme, lorry own­ers would have to reg­is­ter full de­tails of own­er­ship and ob­tain the disc be­fore their ve­hi­cles were al­lowed on Bri­tish roads. The cost of the disc would help pay for law en­force­ment and the cost of re­pair­ing the dam­age to Kent’s roads, which bear the brunt of lorry move­ments into and out of the UK, KCC says. It says the move would also help level the play­ing field as far as UK lorry op­er­a­tors are con­cerned, since diesel is about a third cheaper on the con­ti­nent. Three-quar­ters of lor­ries cross­ing the Chan­nel are now for­eign-reg­is­tered, com­pared with half a decade ago. Mr Carter added: “Some 10,000 lor­ries cross the Chan­nel ev­ery day and use the M2 and M20. “The num­ber is grow­ing year on year. We must do all we can to cut the num­ber of ac­ci­dents on our roads. “Lorry ac­ci­dents are se­ri­ous and can cause traf­fic havoc for many hours.” Cllr Carter said charg­ing a £10 levy on ev­ery lorry cross­ing the Chan­nel, or in­tro­duc­ing the Brit­disc sys­tem, would raise £35 mil­lion.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.