MPs “concerned” by rise in unsafe foreign-registered lorries on British roads

August 24, 2009 at 5:32 pm Leave a comment

motorway

A rise in the number of foreign-registered heavy goods vehicles on Britain’s roads has led to “unacceptable levels of non-compliance with basic road safety standards,” a committee of MPs has said.

Many of them are from the newer EU states such as Bulgaria and Romania.

The Transport Committee’s report on the enforcement activities of the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) paid tribute to the agency’s work.

“We recognise that the Government and VOSA cannot specifically target foreign operators, but it is imperative that the Government works intensively to identify ways to improve enforcement and compliance among foreign-registered heavy goods vehicles,” they said.

“Of particular concern were the unacceptably high levels of non-compliance with vehicle safety standards among foreign-registered vehicles, the lack of access to ports to carry out inspections and the sharing of information with other agencies both at UK and EU levels.

“The fact that Britain has some of the safest roads in Europe is testament, among other things, to the success of VOSA’s enforcement regime.

“It is crucial that VOSA has access to sufficient resources to continue to improve the standard of HGVs and PSVs on our roads.

“This can only be achieved through continued investment in technology and service improvements.

“However, it is clear from our evidence that significant improvement in enforcement activities is likely to result from better legislation and collaboration with other agencies and private companies such as ports, rather than simply from an increase in funding.”

Committee Chairman Louise Ellman said VOSA is recognised as a model of best practice and a leader within Europe.

She added:

“The work of VOSA is also hampered by some of the data sharing regulations.

“It is clear that with many unsafe foreign registered lorries and drivers entering the UK, it is crucial that VOSA can share information with colleagues in other European countries to bring cowboy operators to book.

“Better arrangements are needed so that the tracking methods used so effectively to nail non-compliant British vehicles can be employed to target foreign registered lorries and coaches also.”

Click here to read the report.

photo: talras@flickr.com

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