Rural communities have been 'blighted' by accidents, councils say.
Councils are calling for new powers to help tackle truckers who ‘bring chaos’ to towns and villages by ignoring weight, height or width restrictions.
The Local Government Association (LGA), which represents councils across England and Wales, said the number of fines for ‘neglect of traffic signs and directions and of pedestrian rights’ – the offence that includes enforcement of weight and width restrictions – fell by 32 percent between 2011 and 2016, despite an increase in HGV traffic.
According to the LGA, rural communities have been ‘blighted by a recent spate of lorry smashes’.
Councils in Wales already have the power to fine lorry drivers who break the law, but the LGA says these should be extended to councils across the country. The organisation has also suggested that the money raised from fines should be used to address the country’s road surfaces, which need an estimated £9.3 billion in repairs.
The LGA’s transport spokesman, Councillor Martin Tett, said: ‘There has been a spate of accidents involving lorry drivers driving irresponsibly and bringing chaos to our communities.
‘Councils are doing everything they can to help their residents, working with communities by organising lorry watch schemes. But they are trying to take action with one hand tied behind their back and need tougher powers. If a community is being plagued by problems at an accident blackspot, councils should be able to respond to their concerns by issuing fines to act as a deterrent.
‘The vast majority of 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.’
Motor1.com has contacted the Road Haulage Association for comment, but has not yet received a response.