TRANSPORT chiefs today vowed to use “intelligence-led” crackdowns to take rogue lorry firms off the road.It came as more than 6,000 commercial vehicles were revealed to have been pulled over in London in the last two years, leading to 4,500 prosecutions.
Transport for London announced the establishment of a new unit with 90 officers and analysts that will involve closer working with the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency, with a vow to “put serially non-compliant companies in London out of business”.
The London freight enforcement partnership supersedes TfL’s industrial HGV task force which, since October 2013, has seized 87 vehicles, led to 4,500 prosecutions and issued 2,134 fixed penalty notices for offences including no licence or insurance, unsafe tyres, false driving hours and no cycle side guards.
In one of the most notable cases, lorry bosses Alan and Colin Drummond were stripped of their operating licences in June after hiring rogue driver Barry Meyer, who went on to kill cyclist Alan Neve at Holborn in 2013.
Meyer was uninsured, unlicensed and had a long history of driving offences. Meyer was jailed for three-and-a-half years after admitting causing Mr Neve’s death by careless driving.
Chief Supt Paul Rickett, head of the Met’s roads and transport command, said the CPS had decided not to prosecute the Drummonds. The partnership would aim to “close the gap” in such future cases.
Today Sir Peter Hendy, chairman of Network Rail and chair of the partnership, said it would “act tirelessly to make London’s streets safer for all, particularly cyclists and pedestrians”.
The partnership will also enforce the Mayor’s safer lorry scheme, which requires vehicles weighing 3.5 tonnes or more to have side guards and extra “blind spot” mirrors to help drivers to spot cyclists and pedestrians.
TfL commissioner Mike Brown said he had witnessed HGVs being pulled over in his first week in the job and if had opened his eyes to vehicles that were “frighteningly non-compliant”.
Leon Daniels, TfL’s managing director of surface transport, said: “We’re determined to clear London’s streets of unsafe HGVs.”