William Eichler 29 February 2016

Councils should be able to fine ‘irresponsible’ lorry drivers, LGA says

Councils are calling for more powers to fine ‘reckless’ lorry drivers who cause chaos in rural communities.

The Local Government Association (LGA) warns lorry drivers who ignore weight restrictions on country roads damage infrastructure and put lives at risk.

The LGA wants councils to be given civil enforcement powers to issue fines themselves rather than go through the magistrates’ courts.

Heavy vehicles can do a lot of damage in rural areas. One lorry driver who got lost in a small Devon village crashed into four cottages and partially demolished a historic bridge.

On another occasion, a 50ft lorry became wedged under a low bridge in the Hertfordshire village of Walkern after the drivers sat nav led him there.

Local police tweeted: ‘Question: what is 50 feet long and unlikely to fit through the narrow streets of Walkern #satnavfail.’

LGA Transport spokesman Cllr Peter Box said:

‘The actions of a minority of reckless lorry drivers inflicted on rural communities underline the need for councils to be given proper powers to deal with this increasing problem. If these drivers know they will face fines they will think twice about such selfish and irresponsible behaviour.

‘Councils are doing everything they can to help their residents by taking rogue lorry drivers to court. However, it is a time-consuming, costly and bureaucratic process and there is no guarantee councils will even be able to recoup their prosecution costs.

‘We are calling for a streamlined system which allows councils to fine lorry drivers who persistently blight communities. Councils want to be able to respond to their residents' concerns.’

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