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A man drove his BMW car “aggressively” on a rural road, overtaking a 44-tonne HGV lorry then slamming on his brakes in front of it.
Mark Morris, 35, today pleaded guilty at Llandudno Magistrates Court to driving without due care and attention in the incident on the A525 in Llandegla.
Magistrates disqualified Morris from driving for six months and fined him £162.
Prosecutor Julia Galston told the court that Aled Davies had been driving his 44-tonne vehicle in the Llanrhaeadr area on August 13 last year.
She said he became aware of a blue BMW in his rear dashcam “swerving” in the road and trying to overtake him.
The prosecutor said he eventually crossed the double white lines on a bend and overtook him.
She said: “Mr Morris then slammed the brakes on” causing Mr Davies to brake.
The court heard that someone in the BMW’s front passenger seat then wound down their window and made “gestures” at the lorry driver.
Further along the road, the lorry stopped and Morris in the BMW also stopped at the Drovers Arms pub.
“The defendant ran down the road and shouted abuse (towards Mr Davies),” said the prosecutor.
The prosecution played two clips from the lorry’s front and rear dash cameras to the court showing the incident.
Ms Galston said the “potential for damage was huge”.
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Chris Dawson, defending, said his client, of Lynton Ridge, Llandegla, initially believed that the lorry driver was the “villain of the piece”.
He accepted that it was “inappropriate” for Morris to go over the double white lines to overtake the lorry and it had been “aggressive” driving.
However, Mr Dawson added: “Whatever the potential for an accident resulting from Mr Morris’s manoeuvres in fact there wasn’t an accident and no-one was injured.”
The solicitor said any driving ban would cause Morris, who has five dependent children, “exceptional hardship” as they live in a rural location and need to attend appointments.
Both Morris – who has three forklift truck and excavator driving licences – and his partner gave evidence to back up this claim.
But chairman of the bench Peter Campbell noted the aggressive manner of driving on a road with a “high level of traffic”.
He handed the defendant the ban adding: “We do not find that you have demonstrated exceptional hardship – rather, inconvenience.
“This is down to the fact that there is another adult (his partner) available to drive.”
He added that arrangements can be made with the NHS for patients to go to any hospital appointments.
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The county council is asking lorry drivers to be “extra cautious” when they are diverted through the centre of Grantham after a large vehicle became stuck and traffic lights were damaged.
But there have been complaints about lorries getting stuck at the junction of Westgate and Dysart Road in Grantham town centre and damage to traffic lights. Local resident Paul Hodges complained of traffic building up in the town centre when a lorry with an abnormal load got stuck outside his home for an hour.
In response to the complaints Lincolnshire County Council highways department says it is asking lorry drivers to be ‘extra cautious’ while driving through the town centre.
Councillor Richard Davies, executive member for highways, said: “We understand the questions and concerns residents have about the HGV diversion route in place for our final set of night-time A1 works.
“This route was selected because the A606/A607 was not available to us due to other works in the area. The diversion we are using also saves drivers over thirty minutes compared to using the A606/A607, meaning all A1 users are less affected by our night-time closures.
“These A1 closures are still on track to finish in September. In the meantime, we ask all lorry drivers to be extra cautious when driving through Grantham and to contact Galliford Try if they are carrying an abnormal load so they can discuss alternative options with the team in advance.
“I also want to thank residents for staying patient throughout these works and understanding the benefits the new relief road will bring Grantham when it’s fully opened in 2023.”
Traffic has been stopped on the M60 clockwise between junction 16 and 17 towards Swinton and Whitefield following the collision, traffic services say.
Traffic officers and recovery crews are on their way to the area.
A spokesperson for Greater Manchester Police confirmed the collision had involved three vehicles, with one of them being a lorry.
Transport for Greater Manchester has advised that people use alternative routes in order to avoid the congestion.
Follow our live blog below for the latest updates on this breaking news story.
Almost 50 tonnes of food is going in the bin each week reported Tesco, as experts warn the government of a heavy goods vehicle driver shortage.
During an industry-wide roundtable with ministers on Wednesday, organised by the Department for Transport, UK retailer Tesco highlighted that 48 tonnes of food had been wasted in the past seven days.
Industry experts have advised that there are not enough drivers to meet current demands.
“Since the beginning of the year, 15,000 European lorry drivers, which were reinforcing our staffing, have left because of Brexit, because they didn’t feel welcome and immigration problems,” Rod McKenzie, CEO of the Road Haulage Association (RHA), told The Independent.
“The tax changes that came in in April have also been difficult for them.”
In addition, the RHA stated that some 30,000 lorry driver tests were cancelled last year, due to the pandemic.
That adds up to “30,000 potential lorry drivers,” said McKenzie. “There is an absolute danger to the UK supply chain on which we all depend – 95 per cent of what we have comes from the back of a lorry.
“Whether you work in the food or building sector, there are clear delays.”
The diver shortage is especially problematic when it comes to perishable goods, said Shane Brennan, CEO of the Cold Chain Federation.
“If some chilled and very short life products can’t be delivered they have to be destroyed,” he told The Independent.
“We are seeing the deployment of assets from the frozen food chain into the chilled food chain to try and avoid that wastage.
“Everyone is trying to work out how we can cope with the demand with the lack of labour. We are in urgent talks across the industry and in government about what can be done to get us through the summer.
“We are trying to do our day job without people.”
Where safe to do so, Tesco and other UK retailers donate food to charities and food banks, but spoiled food often goes straight to landfill.
Average deliveries to food redistribution charity FareShare would be 150-160 tonnes per day, but are down to about 100, translating to 800,000 meals a week for people suffering from food poverty, the charity told The Grocer.
“Food we would normally expect to receive into our warehouses on an average day is at risk of not reaching us, and therefore at risk of not reaching the vulnerable people we support,” said Lindsay Boswell, CEO of FareShare.
The historic ability of the UK to deliver is now under threat, claims McKenzie, who suggested the government let European drivers back in, speed up and prioritise driver testing, and “do more at apprenticeship level”.
As a nation, our mindset when it comes to lorry drivers has to change, he claims: “We need to make lorry drivers feel more loved – these guys do an essential job.”
A shortage of lorry drivers is resulting in fresh produce being dumped or left to rot in cold stores, while supermarket shelves and restaurant plates go empty, produce suppliers and retailers warn.
The driver deficit – the worst in over 20 years, according to driver recruitment agency Driver Require – is the result of an exodus of EU drivers post-Brexit and government failure to recruit a replacement workforce. The coronavirus pandemic, which has prevented driving tests and training for over a year, as well as a hike in driver costs, has exacerbated the shortfall.
Haulage companies are therefore struggling to deliver goods – either imported or domestically produced – to UK retailers and restaurants, causing delays and product losses, and empty plates and shelves, distributors say.
Tesco, the UK’s biggest supermarket chain, is understood to have informed the UK Government’s Department of Transport that its suppliers are being forced to bin nearly 50 tonnes of fresh food every week because there are too few lorry drivers to transport produce to stores.
Meanwhile, the Federation of Wholesale Distributors (FWD) is so concerned that it has urged the government to consider having Army trucks on standby to ensure there are enough vehicles and drivers to distribute food.
“It’s shocking, but it’s true. The acute shortage of HGV drivers is now the direct cause of perfectly good, graded and packed fresh produce being dumped or left rotting in coldstores,” Tim O’Malley, managing director of major UK produce distributor Nationwide Produce, told FPJ. “In all my years in fresh produce I’ve never seen anything like this. Goods are being produced, but not delivered.”
The current situation – dubbed a national crisis by some suppliers – is predicted to get worse as the UK continues to open up after lockdown, and demand increases from hospitality and retail.
Brexit clearance issues and a global shortage of shipping containers are further deepening transport problems for imported produce, one source told FPJ.
“The driver shortage has reached crisis point for some of our members and we believe it is likely to get worse as more hospitality venues open and demand increases,” said FWD chief executive James Bielby.
“With the estimated 70,000 shortfall in HGV drivers, some wholesalers have had to limit the number of deliveries they make to convenience stores which has led to some availability issues.
“We’ve asked the government to re-instate the temporary extension of drivers’ hours (from 9 to 11) which was in place last year but ended recently. Other proposals we are putting forward include ending furlough for HGV drivers, temporarily waiving requirements for medical certs and CPC for those which have run out, and using army drivers to deliver to vulnerable communities.”
Meanwhile, in an open letter to the FPJ, Nationwide Produce’s O’Malley urged produce industry suppliers to work with hauliers and customers to get through this crisis.
“I would urge you not to shout at your hauliers and threaten them with bills, as that will get you nowhere – work with them to find solutions,” he wrote. “Customers will have to be far more flexible on delivery times. We also need to stop hauling fresh air around the country. Full pallets and full loads are what we need in a crisis like this.”
O’Malley added that customers need to be more flexible on date codes to allow direct deliveries from abroad. “I’m sure this will eventually lead us all to adopt better practices, but for now we need to work together to find a way through this crisis,” he said.
Alex Veitch, general manager – public policy at Logistics UK, added: “With a large pool of potential candidates available, owing to the nation’s higher unemployment, Logistics UK is urging the government to make HGV driver training affordable, accessible and attractive for all.
“Our 2021 Logistics Report shows that 29 per cent of logistics businesses anticipate that they will be unable to fill vacancies for HGV drivers this year; a further 14.5 per cent expect long delays before filling a role. With the logistics industry in urgent need of these workers, Logistics UK is urging the government to include training for HGV Drivers in their list of courses funded through the National Skills Fund to reskill potential employees and help recruit them into the industry.
“Logistics UK is also urging the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) to maintain its fast-track programme to catch-up on at least 30,000 driving tests that were postponed due to COVID-19 between March and December 2020; this has left thousands of potential HGV drivers waiting in the wings when the UK needs them most to support every facet of UK PLC.”
US – UK – EUROPE – WORLDWIDE – The well-publicised shortage of heavy goods vehicle drivers is a problem which continues to afflict all regions and, in a week when the road haulage lobby met with the UK government for discussions on the situation, it is…