VOSA tackles European vehicle law-breakers

With the number of trucks entering the UK steadily increasing over the
past few years, VOSA has become concerned that the standards of these
vehicles could be falling below what the UK considers to be acceptable
and safe.

Jun 28, 2007
By David Howell
Sergeant Matiu Ratana

Working in partnership with the Highways Agency VOSA has spent more than a year operating a pilot scheme in the South East, known as the Vehicles on International Journeys Initiative.

The initiative’s key goal is to locate dangerous vehicles before they cause congestion or an accident on the UK’s road network.

A spokeswoman for VOSA said: “With so many lorries entering the country at Dover and Ashford then causing accidents on roads in the South-East, it`s something we feel has been very valuable.”

Vehicles are stopped either because VOSA has intelligence that leads it to believe the truck is travelling illegally, or it  identifies illegal trucks with spot checks it carries out in the target area.

Data that is collected at the scene of a stop is fed into a ­central database via hand-held computers. VOSA hopes that, over time, this intelligence will enable it to be more pre-emptive in its action against illegal trucks that could cause could a serious accident.

This initiative will be further helped by the Measures for Road Safety Act that is due to become law soon. This would give VOSA officers the powers to issue on the spot fines from foreign drivers.

A VOSA spokeswoman continued: “Under the new Act, which we hope will be in place early next year, we`ll be able to collect a deposit covering the cost of the fine — which will create a level playing field for British and foreign drivers.

“We`ll also be able to immobilise vehicles if we discover hours or safety offences.”

Technology is also being installed on some major roads so that VOSA officials can identify trucks that are overweight. Weight in motion sensors are ­currently being installed on the M25.

Cameras will also measure the trucks’ speed and record their ­numberplates. These systems are in partnership with Surrey Police which has funded the purchase of the camera components of the new monitoring site, with VOSA covering the cost of the remaining equipment.

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