Friday, 19 October 2007

Local Fatal Accident

Today we hear the sad news of a motorist being killed on a local road after a collision with a tractor. The full story is as yet unclear, but I have become increasingly concerned about the way very large tractors are being used on local roads.

I have no issue with local farmers moving their machinery from farm to field, but the large scale activity of the Potato Gangs are bringing the existing rules into disrepute.

These gangs use very large agricultural tractor and trailer units to circumvent the road haulage rules when moving (mainly) the potato harvest from field to processing centre.

By using Tractors, rather than lorries, the drivers need no special training, only a car licence, they can run on Red Diesel (tax reduced), they run without tachographs and can work long hours, with no rest days.

We do not yet know what caused the recent accident, but it would quite possible that the tractor driver had been working 12 or more hours since dawn, driving back a forth from field to processing centre, and not just short distances but up to 50 miles each way.

It is also possible, from what I have seen in the last few weeks, that the tractor was travelling at excessive (for that type of vehicle) speeds and with the driver using a mobile phone!

Only this afternoon a tractor came around the bend by the Pembroke Pub travelling at about 40 mph, and this was at school pick up time. If there had been a queue of traffic held back by the crossing patrol, I cannot see how the tractor would have stopped.

I think it is time for a review and clarification of how these units are being used.

Update: This accident appears to have been caused by the motorist loosing control rather than any fault by the tractor driver.

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