Examination of Witnesses (Questions 280
WEDNESDAY 1 NOVEMBER 2000
MR J HOOKHAM
280. Are there any statistics about accidents
involving foreign vehicles?
(Mr Dossetter) I was going to say that the safety
record of the heavy lorry on UK roads is fantastic. It is the
safest vehicle on UK roads. Its involvement in accidents rates
is at about half the level of the private car.
281. That is all heavy lorries.
(Mr Dossetter) That is all heavy lorries. I do not
know the breakdown involving foreign vehicles.
282. Is there even any anecdotal evidence to
suggest that foreign professional drivers are more dangerous?
(Mr Dossetter) I do not think so.
(Mr Hookham) We are not making that point.
283. No, that is fine. I just wanted to get
it nailed that you are not making it because this kind of bus-stop
sociology can be a little dangerous at times.
(Mr Hookham) Absolutely.
(Mr Dossetter) Absolutely. Accidents happen and sometimes
it is a UK vehicle and sometimes a foreign vehicle. The problem
with lorry accidents is that they do tend to be very disruptive
in terms of traffic flows and they have an adverse amount of publicity.
284. There is some suggestion that some of the
increase in foreign lorry traffic in this country is actually
nothing to do with this country. For example, Spanish hauliers
bringing in perishable goods destined for Germany are crossing
over from Cherbourg to Poole on the ro-ro and driving all the
way across the UK to Harwich and then going from Harwich to the
Hook of Holland. The logic behind that is that they beat the tachograph
regulations that way. The driver does not have to stop to have
a rest because the periods on the ferry count as the rest periods,
they do not have to pay the tolls on the French and Belgian motorways
and that that more than offsets the cost of the ferry charges.
Do you have any knowledge of this factor?
(Mr Hookham) Only to admire the resourcefulness of
the road haulage sector in other parts of the European Union.
I have not heard that particular story before, I am sorry, so
I cannot comment on that.
285. It is not very often you come to a Committee
like ours and actually learn something.
(Mr Dossetter) It sounds as though Mr Butterfill has
Chairman: On that note may we thank you very
much for your evidence this morning. There will probably be one
or two things we want to pick up with you and we shall be in touch
with you. Thank you very much.