Foreign lorry drivers will come under fire tonight (25 October) from the BBC’s Real Story programme, which will reveal that many are operating in breach of the Working Time Directive and driving overloaded and unroadworthy vehicles.
“Lethal Lorries” includes an interview with a Polish driver, who admits: “My record was 32 hours more or less. I didn’t understand the English road signs. I still don’t.
During filming, the BBC spent a day with VOSA and the police, stopping and checking trucks by the roadside. It found that 77 out of 206 vehicles stopped at Dover and at Holyhead had to be taken off the road because they were unsafe.
A spokesman for the Department for Transport said: “We are determined to tackle those lorries who choose to flout UK law. Every day, VOSA officers take unsafe vehicles off our roads and when the Road Safety Bill becomes law they will be granted powers to collect penalties from non-UK drivers at the roadside.”
The FTA said that the numbers of foreign trucks operating in the UK is increasing and around one in seven of the heaviest vehicles on UK roads are from overseas. “Many of these vehicles represent a road safety hazard to UK road users. In addition their cost cutting activities mean unfair commercial competition to the UK domestic transport industry.”
Chief superintendent Geraint Anwyl, of North Wales Police and a spokesman on traffic issues for the Association of Chief Police Officers, told BBC One’s Real Story that EU expansion had made the situation worse. He also says that penalties against offending haulage companies were not tough enough.
The show will be broadcast tonight on BBC One at 7:30pm.