Prosecution serves as a reminder to HGV drivers
Shropshire Council’s public protection service is reminding HGV drivers of their legal obligation not to drive down roads or across bridges where there are restrictions prohibiting HGVs from doing so, unless they are required to make a delivery to premises located within the restricted areas.
The advice follows a successful prosecution on 23 August 2013 where Shropshire Council brought a case against a 37-year-old driver, Paul Jonathan Bartle, from Willenhall.
Mr Bartle pleaded guilty to driving his 18-tonne HGV down London Road, Shrewsbury, which has a 7.5 tonne weight restriction in place, on 12 February 2013. Mr Bartle had delivered to premises in Longden Coleham and exited the town by using London Road.
The Magistrates Court ordered him to pay a fine of £125, and ordered him to pay costs of £130 to Shropshire Council in respect of the offence.
Frances Darling, Shropshire Council’s public protection service manager for safer and stronger communities, said:
“Public protection officers carry out targeted monitoring of our weight-restricted roads and bridges on an ongoing basis, and on 12 February 2012 witnessed the 18-tonne vehicle being driven down the 7.5 tonne weight restriction. Follow up enquiries determined that Mr Bartle was the driver of the vehicle, that he had no genuine reason for travelling along the road in question, and he had not taken any steps to prevent the breach. We were left with no option but to institute legal proceedings.”
Public protection investigation officers recommend that HGV drivers adopt the following guidelines to avoid breaching weight restrictions in the Shropshire area:-
- Plan your route in advance
- Find out if the business to which you are delivering is located within a weight-restricted area; if it is, establish the safest and most practical route to take
- Ask the business you are delivering to for a recommended route in writing
- If you are delivering to a resident, make enquiries with the council to establish an appropriate route
- Look out for and follow the instructions displayed on weight restriction signs
- Ensure you understand the meaning of the weight restriction signs
- Avoid areas where the signs are displayed, unless you are sure that your delivery is to a location within the restricted area
- Do not rely on Sat Navs or members of the public for directions
- If you are an employed driver, encourage your employer to adopt this advice countrywide.
Steve Charmley, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member responsible for public protection, added:
“Weight restrictions are in place on a wide range of roads and bridges across Shropshire. The reasons for the restrictions are varied. They include protecting the roads, bridges and surrounding buildings from a structural perspective, protecting the local community by, for example, ensuring pedestrians remain safe around schools and colleges, reducing the detrimental effects on health that may arise from excessive exhaust fumes, and also protecting the overall environment. I strongly urge HGV drivers to pay particular attention to the weight restriction signs, and to follow the advice given by public protection in order to avoid breaching the orders that exist across Shropshire and the rest of the country.”
Shropshire Council encourages individuals and businesses to contact its public protection service on 0345 678 9000 if they have any suspicions that offences may be being committed. Information can be given anonymously and will always be treated in line with the council’s information governance policies.
Further advice on weight restrictions can be obtained from the investigations team within public protection on 0345 678 9000 or general advice can be found on our website here.