Two firms and their employees have been prosecuted after being investigated by the Industrial HGV Taskforce (IHTF) – London’s truck ‘police’.
Following an IHTF operation, Cowan Plant of Hayes has had its licence to operate revoked by the Traffic Commissioner, who is responsible for the licensing and regulation of those who operate heavy goods vehicles.
Cowan Plant has also lost its Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme (FORS) accredited status, while transport manager Fiona Macleod will no longer be able to operate as a transport manager, after being disqualified indefinitely for failing to ensure a compliant operation existed at the company. This included allowing a driver without the appropriate licence to operate.
An operation by the IHTF has also resulted in the prosecution of Wandsworth operator Space Rubbish, along with two of their drivers.
Karol Kajewski was disqualified from driving a large goods vehicle (LGV) for a year after repeatedly driving without taking the required breaks.
Daniel Faszczewski was suspended from driving a LGV for 28 days for also pretending to have taken the required breaks.
As a result, Space Rubbish had their licence to operate suspended for a week.
The IHTF says it is vital that operators and drivers obey requirements for the amount of driving hours as, when tired, drivers’ vigilance and alertness deteriorate. Driver fatigue can account for up to one in five serious crashes.
“These are great results for our Industrial HGV Task Force,” said Siwan Hayward, deputy director of enforcement and on-street operations at TfL.
“These prosecutions send out a clear message that we will protect and secure our streets for all road users by targeting enforcement on the construction and waste sector.
“Although non-compliant operators and drivers represent a small minority we will always push for the toughest penalties for any whose actions put other road users at risk.”
The IHTF, which is jointly funded by the Department for Transport (DfT) and Transport for London (TfL), has been targeting non-compliant heavy goods vehicles, drivers and operators on London’s roads since October 2013.
It has resulted in more than 3,800 vehicles being stopped, with 47 vehicles being seized, 1,787 roadworthiness prohibitions given to drivers and in excess of 1,000 fixed penalty notices issued.
The IHTF works alongside the wider MPS CVU, who attend and investigate collisions between LGVs and cyclists, taking action with the driver and goods vehicle operator where appropriate.
Christopher Snelling, head of urban logistics at the Freight Transport Association (FTA), said: “Logistics companies have continually invested to improve vehicles and driver performance over the years, which has resulted in markedly improved safety rates for HGVs in London.
“The work of the Industrial HGV Task Force supports this effort by ensuring reputable operators cannot be undercut by those taking risks.
“The targeted nature of this operation means that the vast majority of operators can go about their business of supplying London’s need for 360,000 tonnes of goods every day to keep working.”
Improving the safety of London’s roads is a top priority for TfL. HGVs, particularly construction related vehicles, are involved in a disproportionate number of fatal collisions with cyclists and pedestrians.
Of the 14 cyclist deaths in London in 2013, nine involved HGVs.
In February, 2014, the Mayor and TfL published six safety commitments, which support the Safe Streets for London plan to reduce further the number of people killed or seriously injured in London by 40% by 2020.
The IHTF is one part of the continuing work underway across London to improve road safety.
TfL recently started the final consultation on the UK’s first Safer Lorries Scheme, which would ban lorries that do not have safety equipment designed specifically to protect cyclists and pedestrians from entering the capital.