Road death toll blamed on illegal lorries

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The Independent Online
Almost a quarter of lorries involved in accidents are being operated illegally, according to a Department of Transport study.

The research, slipped out by the Government last week but highlighted yesterday by Paul Tyler, the Liberal Democrat transport spokesman, paints a picture of an industry in which illegal operators are left virtually unpoliced and are causing three or four deaths a week.

Initiated as part of the Government's attempt to cut 20 per cent from transport department spending, it finds that far from being over-regulated, the overseeing of the haulage industry does not command public confidence because "it is felt too easy for an operator to run vehicles illegally".

Road hauliers are supposed to register with one of eight offices of Traffic Commissioners, but the report says there is a considerable proportion of hauliers who do not. It says the Department of Transport reckons the widely quoted figure of 9 per cent is too high, but offers no alternative estimate.