FOREIGN LORRY drivers are more likely than their British counterparts to be driving vehicles with lethal defects.
One in eight foreign-registered lorries stopped by the roadside in Britain has serious safety risks, according to figures from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA). Roadside officers have stopped 6,000 vehicles for checks in the past 12 months. Eleven per cent of British lorries and 12.5 per cent of those registered overseas were mechanically defective.
Faulty brakes were the most common problem, followed by defects with axles, wheels, tyres and suspension and then problems with the chassis and steering. All these were serious enough to warrant being taken off the road.
Gareth Llewellyn, DVSA chief executive, said: “If we catch you with brakes that don’t work we will take your vehicles off the road to ensure the safety of the travelling public.”
Earlier this year it was revealed that hundreds of foreign drivers were manipulating safety devices designed to track how long they have been working and ensure they take proper breaks. Tachograph machines on more than 440 foreign vehicles had been interfered with. A further 400 drivers were suspected of using illegal interrupters to temporarily turn them off.
The findings suggest that large numbers of haulers are staying on the road beyond their legal driving hours, risking losing concentration or even falling asleep at the wheel.
Under British law truckers must not drive more than nine hours a day; this can be extended to ten hours twice a week. They must not drive more than 56 hours in a week.
The DVSA recently announced it would issue a £300 fine at the roadside for every tachograph offence. The organisation said that the number of drivers with manipulated tachographs had increased by 21 per cent in a year. It said that interrupters ,–which can be triggered in the cab to illegally switch a tachograph off to provide a misleading reading, were largely being used by European drivers bringing goods into the UK.
This article first appeared in The Times