Eye On Wales: Foreign truckers beg police to catch them
Some foreign truckers on Wales' roads are so exhausted and
desperate for a break that they are ringing police and begging
to be pulled over.
Tonight's BBC Radio Wales' Eye On Wales programme reveals
that the pressures on HGV drivers from the Continent are so
intense that some resort to shopping themselves to the police
as a way of getting a break.
Police have come across drivers who have been at the wheel for
as much as 32-hours continuously as some freight companies
strive to maximise profits by minimising the time their trucks
are off the road.
But while officers can fine those drivers
they catch flouting the rules on breaks and rest days, or take
them off the road for a short period, they are generally
unable to act against their employers.
Chief Supt Geraint Anwyl, of North Wales Police,
leads the National Roads Policing Forum.
He is concerned about
their lack of control over foreign haulage companies who
pressurise drivers into excessive hours.
He tells the programme: "The drivers are
committing offences, and clearly there's no excuse for that,
but they're also victims in this – they are being exploited,
it's a modern type of slave labour, in a sense.
"We're able to do something with the UK-based operators,
because there are Traffic Commissioners who issue the
operators' licences and are able to place strict conditions
and take punitive measures against companies who are
"But the same system doesn't necessarily apply
While lorries engaged in international journeys represent less
than one per cent of traffic on British roads, they are
responsible for eight per cent of all road deaths.
Dorothy Thomas, from Anglesey, died earlier this year when a
German driver drove into her head-on after 19-hours at the
Dorothy's husband, Gwyn, is still struggling to come to
terms with her loss, which he sees as wholly avoidable.
He tells the programme: "If he had taken the rest, as the
other drivers of two other vehicles which left Dortmund
roughly about the same time, probably Dorothy would still have
been alive today.
"It's very hard... I'm lost without her."
Meanwhile British hauliers are also under pressure to compete
with their Continental counterparts, in the face of disparity
over fuel prices and road tax.
They, too, are frustrated at
what they see as lack of accountability on the part of foreign
Gill Sheddick, a former haulage operator and board member of
the Freight Transport Association, says: "I think they try to
enforce [the law] on foreign hauliers, and what happens is
they take them to court, and they're issued with a fine, and
the fine is never paid and the haulier is never chased.
"If you're a UK-based haulier, there is this corporate
manslaughter issue being brought forward.
"But if you're a
foreign operator, that doesn't apply to you, so that could be
an issue we should be pushing in Brussels, that it has to
become a European-wide regulation."
Eye on Wales, BBC Radio Wales, 6.30pm, Monday 13 October 2008
Notes to Editors
The programme must be credited if any information from this
release is used.
BBC Wales Press Office