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Alpine transport Rapid escalation in Swiss fines for freight trucks

A truck has its container unloaded

Swiss plans to reduce freight road traffic are set to miss targets.

(Keystone)

An increasing number of heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) are being pulled over for motoring offences at border crossings. Customs officials have reported 83% more violations in the last eight years, rising from 17,997 on 2010 to 32,967 last year.

A further 24,464 fines and cautions were issued against HGVs according to the SonntagsZeitung newspaper. Most infringements concerned overloaded vehicles, followed by sanctions against drivers who did not get enough rest. Some 100 drivers were caught drink-driving.

+ Read more about Swiss struggles to reduce road freight

"Most drivers come from Eastern Europe, where working conditions are getting worse,” Jon Pult, president of the Alpine Initiativeexternal link told the newspaper. “It's understandable that exploited drivers can't take rest periods into account.”

Voters passed an initiative in 1994 to reduce the number of freight vehicles travelling through Switzerland to no more than 650,000. But last year the number still stood at 975,000 trips despite rail routes being beefed up in the alpine country, including the Gotthard base railway tunnel.

Last year the Federal Council confirmed earlier statements that Switzerland would not be able to reach the 650,000 limit by the end of this year despite more freight being transported by rail.

swissinfo.ch/mga

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