Councils should be granted new powers in the Spending Round to tackle rogue lorry drivers, according to the Local Government Association, because of what it calls a spate of “lorry mayhem” in recent months.
The LGA has compiled a list of incidents where lorries have blocked streets, got stuck in villages and crashed into bridges and homes as a result of driving down routes not suitable for their size or weight, often after being taken there by a sat nav.
A recent LGA claimed that more than half of responding councils said this was one of the most important traffic issues in their communities. Currently only police, and councils in London and Wales, have the powers to fine offenders.
The LGA said many councils are already working with communities to tackle the issue, such as through organising lorry watch schemes, and working with freight and haulage companies to ensure that lorries use the most suitable routes and roads. It said there is much more they can do if they had the power to fine rogue lorry drivers who flout weight restriction limits.
Giving councils the power to enforce moving traffic offences – including HGVs using rural roads not designed to take their weight, vehicles driving the wrong way down a one-way street or making a banned turn – would help them act on community concerns and improve road safety, tackle congestion and reduce pollution. The LGA said.
The LGA also said lorry drivers should be required to use dedicated HGV satnavs. These are like normal car sat navs, but include bridge heights, narrow roads, and roads unsuitable for trucks. They also allow the driver to input the lorry’s dimensions - height, width, weight and load – so they are only guided along suitable roads.
“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,” Cllr Martin Tett, the LGA’s Transport spokesman, said.
“With powers to enforce moving traffic violations also given to councils outside of London and Wales, they could act to prevent disruption by the minority of rogue lorry drivers that incorrectly use weight restricted roads through our towns and villages and cause havoc and mayhem on our local roads. They would also help councils unblock congestion hotspots that delay buses, lengthen journey times and reduce pollution from stationary and slow-moving traffic, and help cyclists ride more safely.”