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The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has been very clear about its concern over the civil fines currently assessed against drivers and operators in illegal migration cases. In light of that, the FTA is more than pleased with the recent government announcement that lorry driver civil fines will be reviewed in a consultation scheme with the Home Office. FTA officials have said they are pleased that the government has shown interest in working with the haulage industry to make sure the civil penalty scheme is administered fairly.

The civil penalty scheme has been used by the Home Office to encourage both the individual lorry driver and operator not to be careless when travelling back into the UK, especially from Calais. According to UK Haulier, as many as 40 illegal migrants per day were found entering the country through Dover last summer (2015). With fines of £2,000 per migrant, financial losses among drivers and operators can be significant.

Dual-Purpose Review

Listening to what the FTA and the Home Office have to say on the matter reveals a dual-purpose behind the civil fine review. First, the current fines have not been amended in more than ten years. It could be that they are not severe enough to motivate drivers and operators to improve their efforts to prevent illegal migration. It is thought that increasing the fines might do the trick.

Second, everyone realises that sometimes a lorry driver does everything within his or her power to secure his/her vehicle yet still falls victim to illegal migration. Those drivers should not be penalised to the same extent as careless or reckless drivers, if at all. Reviewing the current scheme will hopefully produce a better system that will recognise honest efforts among drivers and operators to prevent illegal migration.

An Industry Moving Forward

As a leading provider of lorry driver training in the UK, we earnestly hope that the Home Office can make the necessary improvements to the current civil penalty scheme. We also hope that the ongoing migrant crisis does not discourage potential new drivers from undergoing training and obtaining their licences. While illegal migration is a problem to some extent, it is just a small portion of the overall driver experience.

If you have been thinking of becoming a professional lorry driver, remember that not every driver engages in travel to and from the mainland. There are plenty of local and regional lorry driving jobs that keep drivers here in the UK. And even when drivers do have to take loads to Europe, crossing back into the UK is just a small fraction of a much larger journey. Most drivers go through their entire careers without experiencing any significant problems with illegal migration.

The HGV Training Centre offers lorry driving instruction at more than four dozen facilities in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. We would be happy to enrol you in the next class in your local area. Contact us for more information about scheduling, locations, and pricing.

Sources:

  1. UK Haulier – http://www.ukhaulier.co.uk/news/road-transport/drivers/review-of-truck-drivers-civil-penalties-welcomed-by-fta/

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