Long vehicle prohibited, do not follow sat nav.

All lorry drivers who use satnavs should be compelled to use commercial models say Liberal Democrats – following a fresh catalogue of chaos on the nation’s roads.

Local Lib Dem Councillor Ricky Duveen said: “While the majority of lorry drivers are reputable and responsible, a minority cut corners by using cheaper satnavs designed for cars.”

Lorry satnavs are like normal car ones, but they include bridge heights, narrow roads, and roads unsuitable for trucks. In addition, they allow the driver to enter the lorry’s dimensions – height, width, weight and load – so they are only guided along suitable roads. However, they are typically slightly more expensive than ones designed for cars.

The cross-party Local Government Association wants councils to also be able to fine lorry drivers who flout weight restrictions. Lorries of a certain weight or width are banned from many minor roads but the police do not always have the resources to enforce the restrictions. The Government has handed powers under the Traffic Management Act (2004) to local authorities in Wales, and London (under different legislation), to take action if lorry drivers break the law. Councils across the country must also be given the ability to enforce weight and width restrictions where there are hotspots of abuse in their communities by issuing fines.

The LGA wants the Government to enable councils to take enforcement action where necessary. Councils up and down the country are already working with communities to tackle the issue by organising lorry watch schemes. They are also working with freight and haulage companies to ensure that lorries use the most suitable routes and roads.

Lib Dem campaigner for Minster ward, James Moore said: “The money collected from the fines could be put towards tackling the local pothole backlog.

“There has been a spate of recent accidents involving lorry drivers driving irresponsibly and causing chaos. The Government must start taking this issue more seriously and give Reading Borough Council the tools to help their communities and other motorists.

“It is common sense that all lorry drivers should use satnavs designed for trucks, but this is only going to become a reality when it is a mandatory requirement. We are talking about a very small extra cost to drivers.”

Commenting further, Liberal Democrat Councillor Ricky Duveen said:

“Lorry drivers who get wedged in narrow roads or under bridges not only endanger themselves, other road users and pedestrians, but also cause massive disruption. This has a significant impact on local economies.

“We’re fed-up with lorries ignoring weight restrictions and using streets that are not designed for them. The additional noise, vibration and pollution make people’s lives miserable.

“I appreciate that most lorry drivers are reputable and drive responsibly. These powers would be targeted at the minority who do not follow the law. This is also about protecting the drivers’ safety as well as the safety of residents and other road users.”

Image credit: Nic McPhee under Creative Commons.