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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 December 2007, 12:21 GMT
Foreign lorries get free lenses
lens sticker
The sticker lenses widen the driver's passenger side field of vision
The government is to widen the free distribution of safety lenses in a bid to cut the number of accidents involving foreign lorries.

The stick-on lenses, which adhere to the passenger side window and widen a driver's view, are to be handed out at ports in England and France.

It follows a pilot scheme to encourage use of the lenses in the south-east from December 2006 to March 2007.

This saw side-swipe incidents involving left-hand drive trucks fall by 59%.

"Many drivers here don't realise that left-hand drive lorries can't easily see a car overtaking them on the right, such as on a motorway," Road Safety Minister Jim Fitzpatrick said in announcing the plan to distribute 90,000 lenses at a cost of 300,000.

Safer roads

A spokesman for the Department for Transport said any costs associated with the scheme are more than recovered in monies saved by cutting the delays and possible medical costs associated with serious accidents.

Mr Fitzpatrick said the lenses - which widen the field of vision through the passenger window - are among new initiatives aimed at reducing accidents involving cross-channel lorries.

He said the pilot scheme in the south-east saw a fall in the number of side-swipe accidents with left-hand drive lorries from an average of 26 a week to 11, a drop of 59%.

The lenses come in an envelope complete with instructions in English, French, German, Spanish, Polish and Dutch and many lorry drivers issued with the device during the trial are keeping them to reuse on return trips to Britain, the spokesman said.

There were more than 400 side-swipe incidents in England in 2006 involving left-hand drive lorries, according to Mr Fitzpatrick.

As part of a previously announced 2m push to make foreign vehicles safer for UK roads, the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) is also increasing safety inspections of foreign lorries at ports.


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