The idea of people complaining about lorries in nothing new. Road users are often heard moaning about being stuck behind a lorry. Or commenting that lorries shouldn’t be allowed on certain roads in the first place.
Well, Local Authorities in England have taken these gripes one step further by asking for more powers to help stop lorries causing ‘havoc’ in towns and villages across the country.
Following a series of accidents involving heavy goods vehicles across the UK, the Local Government Association (LGA) has requested that action is taken.
Earlier this year, a railway bridge in Middlesbrough was hit four times by HGVs over the course of a few weeks. While in a village in Kent, the same route was blocked by lorries twice in two days causing serious disruption on the surrounding roads.
Speaking about this, Martin Tett, transport spokesperson for the LGA called on the UK Government to give local councils the power to target offenders. Currently the only councils in England with the power to issue fines to drivers who ignore road restrictions are in the capital, London.
He explained: “The spate of accidents we have seen involving lorries blocking streets, damaging local areas and crashing into bridges on an all too regular basis shows that action needs to be taken by Government in the upcoming spending round.”
Clearly, there have been a number of situations where lorry drivers have ignored height and weight restrictions on roads and bridges causing serious delays – and yes, I guess havoc would have ensued in those instances.
But from the average lorry driver’s perspective, this evaluation of havoc being caused doesn’t seem fair. The drivers who do not pay attention to signs are in the minority. Most long-haul drivers are conscientious, highly-trained professionals. Most pay full attention to weight and height restrictions
Tett has acknowledged that rogue lorry drivers were responsible for the disruption. However, from the point of view of the wider public, there is a tendency to lump all truck drivers together, creating a ‘them and us’ mentality to sharing our roads.
If these perceptions are to be avoided, we probably do need rogue drivers to be held to account for their actions. If drivers saw the consequences of ignoring road restrictions and how it could impact their livelihoods, they would start thinking twice before deciding to take that shortcut under the bridge.
How do you feel about lorry drivers being targeted by local councils in this way? A good idea? Or opening the way for a different kind of chaos – this time for truck drivers?