Monday, August 24, 2009

Unanimous Backing for VOSA Foreign Lorry Report

MP’s and Trade Organisations support fight against poor standards
Shipping News Feature

UK – The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) report into the appalling record of foreign vehicles on the country’s roads was published today against a background of overwhelming support.

MP’s wholeheartedly backed the need for stringent measures to be taken against the alien offenders as, according to whose sources you use, they are up to eight times more likely to be involved in an accident.

The MP’s report states that VOSA are hampered by the restrictions placed on them with regard to the foreigners. Their staff have no right to check vehicles whilst they are in British Ports with staff being denied entry and being unable to inspect ships manifests or Customs documents.

It continues, "These figures are all the more worrying when taking into account that sophisticated targeting techniques which are used to select UK vehicles cannot be used for foreign-registered vehicles."

VOSA commented “……..(we are) exploring partnerships with the British Port Association and Port Authorities in order to develop working agreements for access to ports across the country.

"We have already made significant progress in some of the areas mentioned and have successfully introduced new enforcement powers enabling our examiners to issue on the spot financial penalties to drivers from the UK and abroad,"

Even figures which are considered conservative show over 40% of Belgian, German, Italian, Polish and Hungarian lorries currently operate illegally. Offences range from drivers ignoring international hours regulations and driving for excessively long periods to meet targets to downright dangerous vehicles.

Statistically drivers from the Czech Republic are the worst so far with over 60% of vehicles stopped in a one year period proving unroadworthy.

In a statement given to HSG the Road Haulage Associations Director of Policy, Mr Jack Semple said, “Let’s be clear. We are not being xenophobic on this, nor are we tarring all drivers and all hauliers from abroad with the same brush. The report comes against a background in which there has been a complete imbalance in enforcement between UK and foreign trucks.

“Drivers from abroad have had an open invitation to break the law in this country because, until May 1st this year, there was in effect no penalty that could be imposed upon them unless they killed or were in a serious crash. The penalty and enforcement regime has gone some way to redressing that but we need to go further.

“We welcome the committee’s comments and recommendations on the Operator Compliance Risk Score. The RHA has long supported OCRS as a targeting tool for VOSA but expressed concerns over its limitations and use by third parties,”

The Operator Compliance Risk Score (OCRS) is a mechanism used at roadside checks to calculate the likelihood of an operator being non-compliant. It is a risk based scoring system and is used as a guide only.