Terrifying ordeal for Irish truck driver held at knife-point in Calais
The Irish Road Haulage Association has called for Government support and intervention after yet another driver was held at knife-point by migrants in Calais this week.
Lives and livelihoods in the Irish haulage sector, which is worth over €4 billion to the Irish exchequer and is responsible for 50,000 jobs, are in serious jeopardy as a result of the escalating migrant crisis in Calais, according to the IRHA.
The IRHA is calling on the Government to intervene by implementing Article 14 which governs the tachograph rule (the internal system that records a drivers’ driving time) so that drivers are not forced to park-up for hours like “sitting ducks” in Calais, having made little progress on their journey due to hours of delays.
Driver Graham Lowndes, of TTS Transport, was held at knife-point in Calais and had his iPhone stolen in the early hours of Sunday morning when he was forced to stop for a rest period despite only have covered just a four-mile driving distance in almost six hours.
“This is an international crisis, but the lives and livelihoods of drivers from Ireland are at risk which is why the Irish Government needs to take action to protect and allow us to go about our work without being put at risk and being unfairly penalised for trying to get to safety,” the shaken driver said.
“I was put in an extremely vulnerable situation in Calais, which I’m lucky to have escaped with my life. I, like all other drivers, have the additional stress and pressure of self-policing or face huge fines. The Government needs to exercise some common sense to implement emergency measures as the situation is only getting worse by the day.
“It was the first time I’ve had an experience like that where someone has put a knife to me. I think the best way to protect drivers at the moment is not to have them in Calais.
“Anywhere within an hour or a 100 Km from Calais is a no go area. Police in Calais are overwhelmed,” he added.
Compliance with the tachograph rule is becoming increasingly more difficult for drivers due to Operation STACK (an emergency measure to queue HGVs waiting to reach the port on the M20 in England) as drivers are being forced to move their trucks when they should be technically stopped for a rest period.
Thankfully, Graham was uninjured during the terrifying ordeal – but has been left extremely concerned for his and other drivers’ future welfare there.