UK companies hiring foreign operators should be made aware of the extent of their compliance or law breaking, according to the Freight Transport Association.
It reckons the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA), which checks legal compliance of lorries and their drivers, should compile and publish a list of foreign lorry drivers who most frequently flout regulations on roadworthiness, overloading, and drivers’ hours.
Figures show that, in 2006, 44 people were killed in Britain in accidents involving foreign lorries and a further 1,300 were injured. Up to one in three foreign trucks entering the UK have a roadworthiness defect, one in four will be driven by a driver exceeding his hours limits and one in eight is overloaded.
Geoff Dossetter, FTA director of external affairs, said: “Lower fuel costs and slack maintenance standards mean that foreign lorries constitute unfair competition to the UK transport industry. But, more importantly, they present a serious road safety problem.
“Sadly, the government announced in the Budget that it will not be going ahead with a vignette scheme to charge foreign lorries to use UK roads. And the legislation to introduce the imposition of roadside fines on foreign vehicles has now been delayed until 2009.
“It would be helpful to all UK road users if the UK enforcement agency VOSA published details of the worst offending foreign vehicle operators on UK roads, thus giving them an incentive to improve their performance or suffer the commercial consequences.
“The UK transport industry operates to very high standards, which have resulted in a good safety record for the domestic lorry fleet. But the same cannot be said of foreign lorries coming to the UK. We need to see the guilty operators named and shamed – hit in the pocket and put off the road.”