According to the union Unite driver vehicle safety checks are “vanishingly rare” on UK roads. A freedom of information request showed there were 114,653 on-the-spot inspections in 2020/21 to check roadworthiness of the vehicle and if the driver was abiding by drivers’ hours regulations, a third less than in 2016/17.
A crackdown on lorry driver traffic crime by Norfolk Police in 2021 found almost 200 offences in just 3 days, including insecure loads and drivers with no licence. With the well publicised HGV driver shortage it may be tempting to cut corners when employing new drivers but it is absolutely essential that operators ensure any new driver holds a valid licence and is entitled to drive.
The potential consequences of an insecure load is highlighted in a video on the Eastern Daily Press web site when a load of concrete blocks fell off a lorry on the B1535 at Weston Longville onto a Tesla whose owners narrowly escaped serious injury. The driver of the HGV was fined £267 and given three penalty points but it could have been much worse.
Unite officer Adrian Jones said: “An unsafe lorry or a driver failing to follow the driving regulations has enormous safety implications for all road users.”
A Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency spokesman said: “New technology and techniques mean we can target the seriously non-compliant more effectively than in earlier years, and we focus on the most serious defects and offences.”
SmartCompliance gives fleet operators of all sizes everything they need to manage their driver and vehicle safety and compliance. It includes:
- SmartAnalsyis – the UK’s leading tachograph analysis service.
- SmartLicence – Driving licence and driver CPC verification with the DVLA
- SmartCheck – Driver vehicle safety checks.