Non-UK registered HGV offences on the increase

More foreign operators and drivers were found to be committing traffic offences last year, while roadworthiness standards for UK and non-UK registered trucks stopped in random checks improved.

According to the DVSA’s latest fleet compliance check report, the number of UK-registered vehicles issued with a prohibition for a mechanical defect, as a percentage of those checked, fell from 10.2% to 9.3% in the year to April 2015. The number of vehicles stopped at the roadside and checked dropped to 2,575 from 2,694, in the period.

The prohibition rate for domestic trailers fell from 12.5% to 9.8% in the same period, while the number checked decreased from 1,441 to 1,375.

Roadworthiness standards for non-UK registered trucks have improved. The vehicle prohibition rate fell from 17.7% in 2013/14 to 15% in 2014/15, and prohibitions issued for trailer defects dropped from 22.5% to 20.9%. The number of checks reduced to 2,534 from 2,660.

However, the number of non-UK vehicles sanctioned for traffic offences, such as breaches to drivers’ hours and tachograph rules, rose from 13.8% of the 2,682 checked in 2013/14, to 16.3% of the 2,574 checked in 2014/15. The DVSA said this was due to the HGV Road User Levy introduced in April 2014.

The traffic offence rate for domestic vehicles dropped from 9.5% on 2,703 checks to 8.1% on 2,581 checks. The percentage of non-UK vehicles issued with a warning for a traffic offence dropped to 1.4% from 2.5%. For UK-registered trucks, 2.2% received a warning.

DVSA head of enforcement Gordon MacDonald said: “The DVSA takes the safety of all road users seriously. These results are encouraging and show that the majority of drivers and operators are following the rules and playing their part in making roads safer.

“Anyone who fails to meet the standards or comply with the rules is putting themselves and other road users at risk and faces prosecution.”

Earlier this month the government set out plans for changing the way the DVSA’s enforcement activities are funded (CM 19 November).

MP calls for urgent action in Calais

Rob Flello MP has called for the British and French governments to take urgent action to protect British HGV drivers in Calais after a fact-finding mission to the port last week.

Flello, chairman of the all-party parliamentary group on freight transport and a member of the transport committee, said: “Despite Eurotunnel becoming a fortress, the access roads have become like a virtual war zone, unsafe for motorists and professional drivers.

“If Calais is to survive as the most economically viable and convenient crossing for freight traffic between the UK and the continent, this situation cannot be allowed to continue.

“The UK and French governments must get to the heart of the issue to establish safety on the streets of Calais and maintain this vital freight route.

“I will be raising this at the highest levels in government and proposing some further mitigation measures that Eurotunnel and the Port of Calais can take based on my recent experiences.”

Flello’s visit followed riots last week that saw six people injured and riot police using tear gas to stop migrants climbing aboard UK-bound trucks.