The Freight Transport Association says that the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA), responsible for checking legal compliance of lorries and their drivers, should compile and publish a list of the foreign lorry operators who most frequently break regulations on roadworthiness, overloading and drivers' hours. FTA says that UK companies hiring foreign operators should know the extent of their compliance or law breaking.
FTA has long condemned the increasingly bad record of foreign lorries working in the UK and new figures show that in 2006 44 people were killed in Britain in accidents involving foreign lorries and a further 1,300 were injured. UK Government figures show that up to one in three foreign trucks entering the UK has a roadworthiness defect, one in four will be driven by a driver exceeding his hours limits and one in eight is overloaded.
FTA Director of External Affairs Geoff Dossetter said, 'Lower fuel costs and slack maintenance standards mean that foreign lorries constitute unfair competition to the UK transport industry. But, more importantly, they present a serious road safety problem.
'Sadly, the Government announced in the Budget that it will not be going ahead with a vignette scheme to charge foreign lorries to use UK roads. And the legislation to introduce the imposition of roadside fines on foreign vehicles has now been delayed until 2009.
'It would be helpful to all UK road users if the UK enforcement agency VOSA published details of the worst offending foreign vehicle operators on UK roads, thus giving them an incentive to improve their performance or suffer the commercial consequences.
'The UK transport industry operates to very high standards, which have resulted in a good safety record for the domestic lorry fleet. But the same cannot be said of foreign lorries coming to the UK. We need to see the guilty operators named and shamed – hit in the pocket and put off the road.'
The Freight Transport Association represents the transport interests of companies moving goods by road, rail, sea and air. FTA members operate over 220,000 goods vehicles – almost half the UK fleet. In addition they consign over 90 per cent of the freight moved by rail and over 70 per cent of sea and air freight. FTA's website can be found at www.fta.co.uk