|Boris Johnson in the cab of our HGV|
At the ‘Exchanging Places’ event opposite the Houses of Parliament, people were able to sit in the cab of a well-equipped HGV and see first hand the blind spots which lorry drivers must contend with.
Boris Johnson and Transport Minister Stephen Hammond were amongst those to experience this.
To make sure that this is a two-way process, promoting safety, our Police will be on the streets of London at specific locations inviting cyclists to see it from the lorry driver’s point of view and caution those who break the law.
Vulnerable road users (which includes pedestrians), can be in jeopardy if they do not remain vigilant whilst using our roads and footways.
The Mayor and the Minister announced further measures are to be considered. These include the fitting out of HGVs with appropriate safety features, including side guards, mirrors, Fresnel lenses. Additionally all HGV drivers would undertake training highlighting the risks to vulnerable road users. These features are already contractually required for work on GLA family projects including all London Underground and Crossrail works. Good quality operators have also adopted these measures and we are keen for others to follow suit.
Alongside this event, further up the road, we had a joint enforcement operation with VOSA, Police, Department for Works and Pensions and Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs. Large vehicles were being inspected to make sure that even the minimum legal standards are being achieved – both in terms of vehicle standards, load security and drivers’ standards.
In a series of random checks, rather shockingly nearly a third of vehicles stopped failed to meet those standards. Out of 59 vehicles, 16 had mechanical defects, two drivers had breached Driver Hours Regulations, and 17 were issued with fixed penalty notices. One vehicle with numerous defects had no valid ‘O’ licence nor did the driver have any entitlement to drive.
Certain types of large vehicles are excluded from the Regulations if they are classified as ‘plant’. Thus one heavily overloaded, four-axle volumetric mixer, which needs no Operator’s Licence, HGV drivers’ licence, or HGV test certificate was not only destroying London’s roads but had a defective tyre as well.
We recognise freight as an important part of London’s traffic. The industry delivers goods, facilitates construction and supplies our needs. Indeed our economy depends on it. However given the unequal fight between such large and heavy vehicles against vulnerable road users - we must make sure that all road users are at least following minimum standards.