Stowaway fines hang over HGV driver

An HGV driver, who could face fines of up to £10,000 after five stowaways were discovered in the back of his vehicle in January, said the Home Office still hadn’t contacted him.

Jim Rushton told Commercialmotor.com that the lack of communication was “the worst part”, following the incident in Calais on 12 January.

Rushton insisted he had undertaken all the relevant checks and his HGV had even passed through a heartbeat machine in the French port before five illegal immigrants were later found on top of his load.

“I have not heard a thing yet,” he said. “This is the worst part, just hanging about waiting for what’s going to happen to you. At least I had the balls to stand up for myself. A lot of drivers think that’s it, I’m going to get fined.”
The driver, who works for BJ Waters (Transport), has continued to do international work and regularly crosses the Channel, but he added: “When I come back now I am extra vigilant. With them getting rid of the Jungle, it’s forcing immigrants more and more out from Calais. Now you have to be very careful when you park further away.”

Lucy Allan MP has backed Rushton and wrote to the Home Secretary to raise the issue. “I’ve now received a response from the Home Office [acknowledging the issue is being looked into] and shared this with Mr Rushton. I am hopeful a positive outcome will be reached. I am now trying to secure a debate to discuss the issue of clandestines,” she said.

 

Mick George applies no-drive zones in push for road safety

East Anglian construction and aggregates haulier Mick George is tackling road safety head on by imposing no-drive zones to its fleet of vehicles and introducing 20mph speed limits for its drivers.

 

The Huntingdon company has also sponsored a community road watch programme so that it can monitor HGV movements through villages across the region.

 

There has been increasing frustration among parish councils at the number of HGVs breaking routeing agreements and committing motoring offences.

 

Transport manager Joe Gossage said that figures he had seen via local officials showing how fast lorries were travelling on local roads were staggering and that the haulier wanted to do its bit to overcome the problem.

 

“Road safety is paramount to Mick George and this campaign is one we are addressing with extreme importance,” he said.

 

“As well as the voluntary no-drive zones we operate in the region, the business has also invested in technology to closely monitor the exact movements
of our fleet throughout the county.”

 

Owen McLaughlin, secretary of a joint parishes lorry monitoring group, said: “For several years the HCV [heavy commercial vehicle] group has campaigned to persuade hauliers and relevant authorities to reduce the HCV traffic through fen villages.

 

“We were therefore delighted to hear that Mick George has decided to voluntarily ban its vehicles from these routes, unless delivering along them. We hope others will follow this example and exercise their corporate social responsibility.”