Police in France have fined a motorists heading to Morocco they stopped under suspicion of having an unacceptably heavy load. They also had suspicions that the goods being carried resulted in the vehicle being higher than permitted.
An unmarked rapid response vehicle of the gendarmes had spotted the potentially unsafe load on the A7 motorway in Portes-lès-Valence area, seemingly struggling to maintain a safe speed. The maximum speed the Opal Zafira reached was 80 kilometres per hour.
Upon following the vehicle the officers could then clearly see that the car was heavily loaded and reached the height not for off that of lorry.
The police asked the driver to accompany them to a weighbridge where they found the vehicle weighed 2.5 tons, 700 kilogrammes more than the maximum permitted weight.
As the driver did not understand the reasons for him being stopped, the officers explained the risks of having such a heavy load, including the instability of the vehicle and excessive pressure on the tyres, amongst others.
The officers were surprised by the driver´s lack of understanding and knowledge on the subject and was subsequently fines 180 euro before having to make the load compatible with required safety legislation.
ROAD SAFETY AND breakdown organisation GEM Motoring Assist is urging football fans to put safety first if they’re on the road during the forthcoming Euro 2016 matches in France. GEM’s advice applies for fans who will be following their national teams in France, and for others watching at home or in the pub.
GEM chief executive David Williams MBE says: “If you’re driving in France, it’s important that you’re aware of specific French traffic laws. For example, the drink-driving limit in France is lower than in England and Wales (0.5mg compared with 0.8mg). Also, France has introduced jail terms for drivers caught at more than 50km/h above the speed limit, even first time offenders.
“The French motorway network is extensive and excellent, meaning you can cover big distances with ease. But don’t try to drive too far in one go. Take fatigue seriously; make time for proper breaks and avoid driving at times of day when you would normally be sleeping.
“For fans planning to watch our national teams at home or in the pub, we’re stressing the importance of planning journeys home. Pre-book a taxi, or share lifts and agree a designated driver who will stay on soft drinks.
“Be careful when walking home. Figures from the Department for Transport show that one pedestrian in seven injured on our roads is drunk at the time. Alcohol impairs judgement and reduces the ability to judge speed and distance, regardless of whether you’re driving or walking. It can also increase willingness to take risks, often resulting in pedestrians stumbling into the road and being hit by drivers who have no chance of avoiding them.
“We’ll be cheering for our home nations, and we certainly don’t want to spoil anyone’s enjoyment of the football. However, we are committed to helping reduce risk for all road users. That’s why we encourage fans to look out for each other and get home safely.”
The UEFA ‘Euro 16’ takes place between 10 June and 10 July, at venues in Paris, Marseille, Lyon, Lille, Bordeaux, St-Étienne, Nice, Lens and Toulouse.
England face Russia on 11 June, Wales on 16 June and Slovakia on 20 June.
Wales take on Slovakia on 11 June, England on 16 June and Russia on 20 June.
Northern Ireland play Poland on 12 June, Ukraine on 16 June and Germany on 21 June. Stay safe
GEM has the following safety tips to ensure safe enjoyment of the Euro 2016 tournament:
If you’re walking home from the pub, make sure you can be seen by drivers and riders.
Never let mates walk home drunk on their own.
If you’re going out to watch the football, then pre-book your taxi home, or share lifts and agree a designated driver for each match.
If you need to drive home, don’t take any risks and stay on soft drinks while you’re out.
If you have a few late night drinks at home, then don’t plan to drive the following morning as you could still be over the drink-drive limit.
Avoid the penalties
Anyone convicted of drink-driving faces a mandatory ban of at least 12 months, with a fine of up to £5,000 and a possible prison sentence of up to six months.
Follow GEM on Twitter @MotoringAssist for the latest industry news.
Motorway blockades and protests at fuel refineries in France are causing problems for UK lorry drivers – exactly 12 months after industrial action created chaos in Calais.
Dozens of petrol stations near the French port have run dry and Freight Transport Association (FTA) members have been struggling to fill their tanks, visiting several stations before finding fuel and being allowed to buy only a limited amount.
Lorry Driver Tony Henderson, who regularly travels to France from his base in Belfast, said some filling stations were limiting drivers to 200 litres of diesel – his truck holds 900 litres – and there was little information available.
“If you can’t get fuel, you can’t move. And if you have a full tank then you’re a sitting target overnight for thieves. It’s a Catch 22 situation. It would help if the overhead gantries on the motorways gave information but there’s no help at all,” he said.
The problem is expected to get worse as protests over a new labour market reform bill continue, and this weekend’s half term get-away could turn into a nightmare for motorists across the Channel.
Last summer’s action by striking ferry workers cost the transport and logistics industry an estimated £21 million due to delays, cancelled ferry sailing and interrupted Eurotunnel crossings.
FTA Deputy Chief Executive James Hookham said: “The damage caused to our members was far-reaching and this can’t be allowed to happen again. The Port of Calais handles £89 billion worth of UK trade every year – it’s a vital trade route that must be protected.”
Following last year’s chaos, FTA devised a five-point plan of measures to tackle the issues which included a call for the Port of Calais and Eurotunnel facility to be declared off-limits to any industrial action.
More strikes and protests are planned for tomorrow and Thursday, with disruption expected at ports, airports and on rail lines. Rail workers have announced rolling strikes every Wednesday and Thursday until July.