Alarming number of HGVs fail Swiss spot checks

Alpine Initiative aims to get more heavy goods vehicles off Swiss roads. Keystone/ Valentin Flauraud

Some 20,000 heavy goods vehicles failed spot checks in Switzerland last year with more than 5,000 in such bad condition that they were taken off the roads.  The Federal Roads Office (FEDRO) made the findings of 90,000 inspections public on Thursday.

This content was published on March 28, 2019 - 14:06

The findings could add more fuel to demands from the Alpine InitiativeExternal link group to reduce the number of trucks travelling through Switzerland. The Swiss authorities are already struggling to fulfil the requirements of a 1994 public vote to restrict HGV traffic to 650,000 crossings of the Alps each year.

The aim of the popular initiative was to transfer more freight from road transport to rail. Not even the opening of the Gotthard rail tunnel in 2016 appears to have eased the HGV traffic problem very much.

FEDROExternal link said most problems at checking points involved illegal dimensions and weights of vehicles, technical defects and violations of working hours and rest periods. Some 127 drivers were found to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs and there were 389 speeding cases in 2018.

Extra funds have recently been invested in checking trucks that pass through Switzerland. The Alpine Initiative group responded to the latest FEDRO report by demanding yet more control points be opened.

Last year customs officials conducting inspections at border points reported an 83% rise in HGV violations between 2010 (17,997 cases) and 2017 (32,967).

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