Wednesday, November 20, 2013

London Blitz on Commercial Freight Vehicles Captures 20% of Lorry Drivers

Metropolitan Police Safety Operation Prompts Industry Criticism of Road Haulage Outfits
Shipping News Feature

UK – A recent blitz on London’s commercial vehicle drivers has persuaded the Freight Transport Association (FTA) to voice its concern after 15 fixed penalty notices totalling £2,300 were issued to lorry drivers in London when around seventy trucks were stopped this week by officers on Vauxhall Bridge Road, Whitechapel Road and Albert Embankment as revealed by MPS Traffic Command. The campaign by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) Traffic Command is part of a road safety operation and ongoing efforts to help make all road users safer.

Truck drivers were not the only culprit and around 100 cyclists were also stopped and given safety advice by officers from the Safer Transport Command, where there were concerns about their behaviour - for instance cutting corners and wearing headphones while riding. On Vauxhall Bridge Road, many cyclists were stopped as they attempted to cut across the pavement to enter the busy flow of traffic rather than a designated cycle entry point at traffic lights. Cars were also pulled over where necessary and drivers issued with fixed penalty notices for offences such as crossing advanced stop lines illegally, having tyres not fit for the road and having defective brakes. James Hookham, FTA Managing Director Policy and Communications said:

“FTA is aware of the result of the road safety operation in London carried out by the Metropolitan Police yesterday [Monday November 18]. Safety and compliance are at the heart of what FTA stands for, and supporting our members in order that they can achieve these aims is vital. There is no excuse for poor standards in truck and van fleets. It is imperative that all commercial vehicles on our roads are fully maintained and roadworthy, and that all drivers are competent and comply with the rules on breaks and rests. Any operator concerned whether their vehicles or drivers comply can receive a free compliance check from one of our visiting experts who will advise on the law’s requirements and how they can be met. Road safety is crucial for all, FTA believes it is extremely important that everyone should share roads safely.”

FTA members can avail themselves of more than the free compliance check, the organisation also supplies a range of safety equipment for trucks which is currently being offered to new members at a 20% discount to the normal price, including ‘Think Bike’ stickers designed for HGV cabs to remind drivers of cyclists; a Fresnel Lens which helps bring into the driver’s field of vision the area which was previously in his blind spot, allowing cars, cyclists and pedestrians to become visible to the driver; and in-cab cameras which capture clear visual and audible evidence.

In addition, FTA's vehicle inspection service carries out approximately 100,000 vehicle inspections each year whilst Tachofta analyses 20 million drivers’ days per annum, and FTA training provides courses to around 8,000 delegates on transport and compliance.

Photo: An officer speaks to a cyclist on Vauxhall Bridge Road during the operation.