The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has said that "safety and compliance must come first for all freight operators using UK roads." FTA has voiced its concern after 15 fixed penalty notices totalling £2,300 were issued to lorry drivers in London.
The 15 offences (including driving more hours than they are legally permitted to without a break and having vehicles that are not fit for the roads), were issued by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) Traffic Command as part of a road safety operation and ongoing efforts to help make all road users safer.
According to MPS, over 70 lorries were stopped and checked yesterday by officers on Vauxhall Bridge Road, Whitechapel Road and Albert Embankment. In addition around 100 cyclists were 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.
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. 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."
FTA believes that there are three key components to a compliant and safe freight operation:
• Properly trained drivers
• A well maintained and roadworthy fleet
• Knowledgeable and effective management
Mr Hookham added:
"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".
A key role for FTA is to support its members in achieving safe, efficient and sustainable operations and does so by providing operators with quality management and driver training as well as through independent fleet quality monitoring and audit services.
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.
"Road safety is crucial for all; FTA believes it is extremely important that everyone should share roads safely."
FTA is 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.
FTA further supports its members through the supply of transport information and helping them keep up-to-date with legislative and operational requirements, including guidance through its Member Advice Centre and promoting best practice through compliance briefing notes.