Select Committee on Trade and Industry Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 280 - 285)



Mr Morgan

  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.

Mr Butterfill

  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 been moonlighting.

  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.

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