HC Deb 06 December 1973 vol 865 cc1429-30
6. Mr. Hamling

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prosecutions for driving offences have taken place, in the last year for which figures are available, of drivers of heavy goods vehicles registered abroad.

Mr. Carlisle

I regret that this information is not available.

Mr. Hamling

Is the Minister aware that complaints have been made in my part of South-East England about heavy lorry drivers from the Continent speeding and committing other motoring offences and getting away with it?

Mr. Carlisle

Indeed, I am aware of and very much concerned about the position arising from the increasing number of vehicles coming to this country and the difficulty of enforcing action against drivers for a breach of the traffic regulations whilst they are here. We are studying the whole situation.

Mr. Costain

Does not my hon. and learned Friend appreciate that one of the most serious offences that lorry drivers commit is bringing into the country lorries that are overweight—an offence of which Folkestone has had some experience? Will my hon. and learned Friend give his support to the police in enforcing the law?

Mr. Carlisle

Certainly, the police will do all they can to enforce the law, but I ask my hon. Friend to accept that there are major practical difficulties in summoning before our courts people who are not normally resident here.

Mr. R. C. Mitchell

I support my hon. Friend the Member for Woolwich, West (Mr. Hamling). Many people are saying that foreign drivers are getting away with it whereas British drivers are being prosecuted. Will the Minister try to get the necessary information?

Mr. Carlisle

With the greatest respect to the hon. Gentleman, we cannot get this information. Our statistics do not distinguish between heavy goods vehicles and goods vehicles and do not contain information about the country of origin of drivers. On the other hand, I am aware that this is a matter of concern and that there has been an increasing number of cases in recent months.