Truckers criticised after safety checks

POLICE today hit out at haulage firms and drivers after fresh safety checks exposed widespread flouting of the law.The vehicle deficiencies were discovered only days after an appeal went out for hauliers and truckers to clean up their act.

POLICE today hit out at haulage firms and drivers after fresh safety checks exposed widespread flouting of the law.

The vehicle deficiencies were discovered only days after an appeal went out for hauliers and truckers to clean up their act.

The checks, carried out on Friday and Saturday on the A14 at Risby, near Bury St Edmunds, involved a total of 53 large goods vehicles (LGVs) – with experts uncovering a total of 18 offences.

One of the trucks was immediately taken off the road after mechanical defects were discovered, five vehicles were found to be overloaded, nine drivers had driven in excess of their permitted hours and were not allowed to continue with their journeys and three drivers were dealt with for document offences.

The checks are part of a hard-line Suffolk-wide campaign against irresponsible lorry drivers and hauliers who are driving for hours without breaks and allowing unsafe vehicles on to the roads.

It was initiated after checks last month revealed more than a third of the lorries stopped had mechanical defects or were being driven by drivers who had not had a rest for more than 10 hours.

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Chief Inspector Alan Pawsey, head of Suffolk's road policing and support unit, said: "The owners and operators of LGVs have a responsibility to ensure their vehicles are fit to be on the road and their drivers are fit to be in charge of them.

"We will be running a series of checks at various locations throughout the county and those owners and operators who are found to be in breach of the legislation can expect to be dealt with to the full extent that the law will allow.

"The combination of a tired driver and a mechanically defective LGV is a potentially fatal one and will not be tolerated on Suffolk's roads.

"Drivers who fail to take the correct breaks and drive when tired put not only themselves but also other innocent motorists at risk. A moment's lack of concentration can have fatal consequences. A collision involving a LGV can be catastrophic."

The checks are a joint operation by Suffolk Police and the Vehicle Operators Service Agency (VOSA).

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