Councils call for commercial sat nav use

The Local Government Association (LGA) has called for all lorry drivers to use commercial model satnavs, following a succession of lorry crashes.

The association, which represents over 370 councils in England and Wales, warns that, although most lorry drivers are reputable and responsible, a minority are using cheaper model satnavs designed for cars, endangering other drivers and causing damage to the road network.

Aside from cost, lorry satnavs differ from car satnavs in detailing bridge heights, narrow roads, and roads unsuitable for trucks among its information offering. A driver can enter their lorry's dimensions in order to ensure it is directed on suitable roads.

The LGA is keen for the powers under the Traffic Management Act (2004) to be extended, so that councils across the UK have the powers to fine lorry drivers who flout weight restrictions. The money collected from the fines could then be directed towards tackling the national pothole backlog – which council warn could reach £14 billion in two years.

Cllr Martin Tett, transport spokesman at the LGA, said: "It is common sense that all lorry drivers should use satnavs designed for trucks, but this is only going to become a reality when it is a mandatory requirement. We are talking about a very small extra cost to drivers.

"Some rural communities are fed-up with lorries ignoring weight restrictions and using their streets. The additional noise, vibration and pollution make their lives miserable.

"Councils hear these concerns and are doing everything they can to help their residents, working with communities by organising lorry watch schemes. But they are trying to take action with one hand tied behind their back and urgently need tougher powers. If a community is being plagued by problems, councils should be able to respond to their concerns by issuing fines to act as a deterrent.”