Half the foreign lorries checked on British roads last year had serious safety defects that could have resulted in crashes, according to official figures, The Times writes today.
Eastern European lorries were the worst offenders, with prohibition notices placed on 62% of those from the Czech Republic, 61% from Romania, 55% from Latvia, 52% from Bulgaria and 49% from Poland. Foreign lorry drivers were more than twice as likely as British drivers to have breached rules on the maximum time spent behind the wheel without a break. More than 37% of drivers of lorries registered in Greece had exceeded that limit, compared with 9% of British drivers. Foreign lorries were more likely to be dangerously overloaded, with a third of those from Spain, Portugal and the Republic of Ireland found to be over the weight limit.
The figures, published by the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (Vosa), will increase pressure on the Department for Transport (DfT) to take tougher action against rogue foreign freight companies. With diesel a third cheaper on average on the Continent and drivers from Eastern Europe costing less to employ, the number of foreign lorries on British roads has risen to record levels. Three quarters of all lorries crossing the Channel last year were registered overseas. A decade ago, half were British. On a typical day 12,000 foreign and 95,000 British lorries are on the country’s roads. (focus-fen.net)