Lorry safety inspections ‘vanishingly rare’ despite police operations

Lorry driver arrested after fatal crash. Library image.

Lorry driver arrested after fatal crash. Library image.

On-the-spot inspections of lorries and HGV drivers are “vanishingly rare” on the roads despite police operations, according to a union.

Unite said a freedom of information request showed there were 114,653 on-the-spot inspections in 2020/21 to check roadworthiness and if the driver was abiding by driving regulations, a third less than in 2016/17.

A Norfolk police crackdown on lorry driver traffic crime last year found nearly 200 offences in three days including insecure loads and drivers with no licence.

Wreckage of Tesla Model 3 car following accident.

Neil Collins and his wife Alison escaped with minor injuries despite concrete blocks falling from lorry onto their Tesla car. - Credit: Neil Collins

The potential consequences of lax precautions were highlighted when a load of concrete blocks fell off a lorry on the B1535 at Weston Longville onto a Tesla whose owner Neil Collins and his wife narrowly escaped serious injury.

The driver was fined £267 and given three penalty points.

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.”

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