LGA calls for “car satnav ban” for HGVs

LGA calls for “car satnav ban” for HGVs

The Local Government Association (LGA) is demanding the mandatory use of specialist satnavs for HGV drivers to “stop bridge crash chaos”.

The LGA, which represents councils in England and Wales, said communities are still being blighted by incidents where lorries have blocked streets, got stuck in villages and crashed into bridges as a result of driving down routes not suitable for their size or weight, often after being taken there by a satnav system that “specialist lorry satnavs avoid”.

Recent incidents cited as examples of the problem included:

A Tesco lorry blocking a street in Bristol for 15 hours, with the lorry being so badly wedged it could only be moved by a crane.

A lorry carrying paint crashed into a bridge in Leicestershire, spilling substantial amounts of paint over the road and blocking it for over 12 hours.

In Swindon, the Wotton Bassett Rail Bridge being struck again by a lorry last year, one of numerous incidents that had taken place over the last 20 years.

In Somerset, a car transporter becoming wedged on a local country lane, blocking access to homes in the area.

Councils are calling on the Government to take urgent action and use its forthcoming Transport Bill to require all HGV drivers by law to use specialist satnav devices rather than currently only advising. These are devices which include bridge heights, narrow roads, and roads unsuitable for trucks.

They also allow the driver to input the lorry’s dimensions – height, width, weight and load – so they are only guided along suitable roads.

Making them mandatory will support HGV drivers to carry out effective route planning, especially the new HGV drivers coming into the industry to support the vital role lorries play in the economy. Furthermore, there are now said to be more lorry journeys than ever, risking more incidents with Government figures showing HGV mileage grew by nearly 9% over the last year and are back above pre-pandemic levels.

Lorries colliding with local infrastructure such as railway bridges or becoming stuck on narrow roads cause major disruption and are costly to local communities. They often take significant amounts of time and resources to free, create significant congestion across the local road network generating more emissions and they disrupt local rail services.

Cllr David Renard, LGA Transport spokesperson, said: “The spate of accidents we continue to see involving lorries blocking streets, damaging local areas and crashing into bridges on an all too regular basis are causing major disruption to local communities.

“Councils already work with freight and haulage companies to ensure that lorries use the most suitable routes and roads. However, there are a minority of drivers who continue to follow satnav systems that take them down routes that are totally inappropriate for the weight and height of their vehicle.”

He concluded: “By making it mandatory for anyone operating an HGV to use a specialist satnav device, the Government can help to reduce the risk of accidents and keep our roads moving.”

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