Unsafe overseas-registered trucks operated by over-tired drivers are giving the whole logistics sector a bad name, according to the Freight Transport Association (FTA).
FTA’s concerns were voiced as the House of Commons Transport Select Committee released its report on the work of the Vehicle & Operator Services Agency (VOSA).
FTA’s Jo Tanner said:
"Seeing obviously unsafe overseas trucks being driven erratically by over-tired drivers is enough to give the logistics sector a bad name, despite the fact that the UK fleet is recognised as the safest in Europe. This does the 2.3 million people that work in the logistics sector a great disservice.
"The safety of our roads has to be the number one priority and our continuing concern is that safety standards are being ridden rough-shod over by rogue operators from overseas. While UK operators by and large operate what is considered to be the gold standard in terms of compliance with safety regulations, operators coming across from the continent, particularly those from Eastern Europe, often fall well short."
FTA concurred with the Select Committee’s findings that solving the problem was not solely about injecting more cash into VOSA. Shared information and a commitment to collaboration between all the Government agencies in this area, as well as their opposite numbers overseas, are key.
Jo Tanner concluded:
"VOSA’s detection rates are good, but how are these vehicles able to make it so far from their home nation unchallenged? The Select Committee is absolutely right in encouraging greater collaboration and information-sharing between agencies, not only on this side of the Channel, but on the continent too."
As well as the obvious safety concerns, over-loaded, poorly-maintained vehicles also have a huge impact on UK roads. With overseas operators filling their tanks on the continent, they contribute little or nothing to Treasury coffers. As a result, it is the British tax-payer that has to pick up the bill for the damage these overseas trucks cause.