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Tough fines for foreign truckers under new laws

Police inspecting vehicles

Police inspecting vehicles

Police fine a driver today

Police fine a driver today

Two foreign lorry drivers were fined in Kent within an hour of tough new laws coming into force.

As of this week, foreign lorry drivers who flout the law can now be given on-the-spot fines of up to £900 from Kent Police.

Under the Road Safety Act 2006 police have the power to demand cash in pounds sterling or credit and debit card payments if drivers break traffic rules.

If they can't pay or their vehicle needs repairs police can immobilise it until payment is made or the faults rectified.

The first two drivers caught was one using his mobile phone while driving and the other with faulty brakes.

Until now, police could not issue Fixed Penalty Notices to offending foreign drivers because there was no guarantee the penalty would be paid within 28 days. Also there was no system to check for previous motoring offences. Kent Police say this new law takes away those problems.

Head of the Roads Policing Unit, Chief Inspector Roscoe Walford, said: “Many foreign drivers ignore our road rules because they know even if they are caught, nothing will happen.

“But by hitting them in the hip pocket immediately, the new law creates a disincentive to break the law. If this saves one person from death or serious injury, and one family from suffering the trauma of losing a loved one, the new law has done its job.”

It is believed about a fifth of the 74,000 freight vehicles travelling on Kent's roads every week are registered abroad. There were 72 collisions and 113 injuries involving non UK-registered left hand drive vehicles on Kent roads between October 1 2007 and September 30 2008.

Road Safety Minister, Jim Fitzpatrick, was at the service station on junction 8 of the M20, where police began using the law this morning.

“We want to keep our roads as safe as possible and these tough new measures mean any driver who breaks the rules of the road - putting themselves and others at risk - will have to face the consequences.

“The only way for drivers and hauliers to avoid tough penalties will be to obey our traffic laws and ensure their vehicles are fully roadworthy.”

The new measures also affect British drivers who cannot prove a valid address in Britain.

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