Police force lorry driver to rest

A DUTCH lorry came to a grinding halt after Essex Police became one the first forces in the country to use hard-hitting new powers aimed at rogue drivers.

James Hore

A DUTCH lorry came to a grinding halt after Essex Police became one the first forces in the country to use hard-hitting new powers aimed at rogue drivers.

The move came yesterday just hours after new legislation came in at midnight enabling officers to stop a vehicle as part of the Road Safety Act 2006.

Police carried out a stop-check just before 6 am on a Dutch lorry on the A12 at Chelmsford and found its driver had exceeded his legally allowed hours.

An immobilisation device was immediately fitted to the steering wheel and remained in place until the afternoon when the driver had taken his rest break.

Previously when drivers had exceeded their hours, they would be given a prohibition order stopping them from being on the road but the system relied on good will.

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It is now hoped that the dangers posed by tired drivers - who often trigger accidents - will be greatly reduced.

Commercial traffic investigator Pc Harry Sexton said: “This legislation enables the police to effectively deal with illegal vehicles and their drivers.

“Prior to the introduction of this legislation a prohibition notice would be issued but thereafter the driver was trusted not to drive the vehicle.

“Many failed to comply with the prohibition and police would find a vehicle had arrived at Dover whilst still prohibited.

“This legislation will prevent a tired driver who has been caught continuing to drive.

“This will have a significant impact on the reduction of serious collisions and the safety of other road users and make the roads not just in Essex but the country a safer place.”

Overweight or defective lorries can also be stopped until faults have been repaired.

If a driver does not take his daily rest break a vehicle can be immobilised for 11 hours and a device can also be used until any problems have been repaired.

Fixed penalty notices will also be introduced for some offences where the driver does not have a UK licence or when police are not happy about the UK address given.

james.hore@eadt.co.uk