Firms fined for Safer Lorry Scheme breach

Two companies that flouted London’s Safer Lorry Scheme by using vehicles not fitted with safety equipment have been prosecuted and fined.

D&R Grab Hire and What a Load of Rubbish were stopped by officers and found to be in breach of the Safer Lorry Scheme traffic regulation order by having no Class VI mirrors or sideguards fitted to their vehicles.

The two companies appeared at City of London Magistrates on 9 December and were fined £500 and ordered to pay £235 court costs each.

Steve Burton, TfL director of enforcement and on-street operations, said: “These non-compliant operators represent a minority on our streets. We hope these prosecutions send out a message that we will continue to protect and secure our roads and push for the toughest penalties for those caught operating unlawfully.”

The Safer Lorry Scheme was launched in September 2015 and ensures that vehicles weighing more than 3.5 tonnes entering the capital are fitted with sideguards and class V and VI mirrors. This is to protect cyclists from being dragged under the wheels in the event of a collision and to give the driver a better view of cyclists and pedestrians.

TfL said that since the start of the scheme, 5,610 vehicles have been targeted and stopped, with 269 of those identified as non-compliant.

Drink-driving limit lowered in Northern Ireland

A tougher drink-driving limit for HGV drivers is to be enforced in Northern Ireland from 2018, bringing its policy in line with Scotland.

The blood alcohol limit for vocational drivers will be lowered from the current 80mg per 100ml of blood limit that applies to all drivers, regardless of the type of driving licence they hold, to 20mg per 100ml of blood.

The Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill, which was passed by the Northern Ireland Assembly on 12 January, removes the right of a driver to request a blood or urine sample to replace a breath test.

An updated fixed penalty programme will reflect the amount of alcohol consumed. A fine will be issued to the driver if they are over the blood alcohol limit on their first offence, but will be referred to a court if they exceed the limit a second time.

Serious cases will face court even if it is their first drink-driving offence. All offenders will be referred to a drink-driving course.

The rules give police the power to establish roadside check points for breath samples.

The limit for HGV drivers in Scotland has been 20mg per 100ml since December 2014.