Foreign lorries stopped in crackdown
ONE in five foreign lorries stopped in a clampdown on a major Suffolk road were being driven illegally, police revealed.Suffolk police teamed up with the Road Haulage Association to carry out random spot checks of foreign vehicles driving along the A14 near Bury St Edmunds.
ONE in five foreign lorries stopped in a clampdown on a major Suffolk road were being driven illegally, police revealed.
Suffolk police teamed up with the Road Haulage Association to carry out random spot checks of foreign vehicles driving along the A14 near Bury St Edmunds.
Of the 32 drivers pulled over onto the weighbridge at Risby, six drivers were immediately prohibited from carrying on their journey.
Pc Mark Marlow, of Bury St Edmunds Road Policing Unit, said five of the drivers had not taken sufficient rest breaks - with most having had just six or seven hours of the 11 hours required by law within a 24-hour period.
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And one driver was found to have a tyre which was so worn down that cords were exposed beneath the rubber.
All six drivers were immediately prohibited from driving any further.
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Speaking yesterday, Pc Marlow compared driving a heavy goods vehicle without enough rest to giving a child a loaded gun to play with.
He said: “If they don't get enough rest they are an accident waiting to happen. We have had several incidents in the past where lorry drivers have fallen asleep and gone off the road. If that happens to the driver of a 44 tonne articulated vehicle the consequences can be catastrophic.
“You wouldn't let a child out with a loaded gun.
“To get 20% of drivers immediately prohibited is bad, but its lower than it normally is. The worst I have seen was when we found 60% of drivers needing immediate prohibitions. The normal is between 30 or 40%.
“I think a lot of these drivers are being forced to do it by their bosses because a lorry is only earning money when it is on the move.”
For some rogue firms, the cost of getting a £1,000 fine is lower than the money earned by a vehicle carrying on its way meaning it can pay to break the law, Pc Marlow said.
He added: “All we can do is our best and reiterate the message that driving without proper rest breaks is extremely dangerous.”
The clampdown on Friday night forms part of new powers given to road safety organisations to bar drivers of foreign vehicles from continuing their journeys if they have had the required rest or their lorries found to be defective.
Targeting foreign drivers using major ports in Essex and Suffolk to get to the continent has been welcomed by the Road Haulage Association (RHA).
A spokesman for the RHA said the powers helped create a level playing field with Europe by giving enforcement authorities given greater powers to take action against drivers of foreign registered vehicles who break British laws.
She said: “These new measures will undoubtedly make our roads safer. The increase in traffic flow and subsequent reduction in journey times will be especially welcome.”