Powers target broken-down vehicles

Vehicles abandoned on England`s busiest roads are being targeted by new regulations to give breakdown recovery powers to Highways Agency traffic officers.

They will be allowed to remove and dispose of certain abandoned and broken-down vehicles from the strategic road network, which includes England's motorways and major A roads.

It will give the officers powers similar to those exercised by the police. Breakdowns on the network account for only around 1-2% of all breakdowns.

Parliamentary approval of the new regulations will pave the way for the Highways Agency and a national vehicle-recovery manager to start training traffic officers, which will help free up police for other duties.

Derek Turner, the Highways Agency's director of network operations, said: "Giving our traffic officers these new powers was always envisaged to complement the work they are already doing around the clock to improve safety and reliability on our motorways.

"We completed a successful consultation earlier, and the responses positively supported traffic officers authorising the removal of broken down and abandoned vehicles."

The national vehicle recovery manager will run a recovery and removal service working alongside traffic officers, and it is anticipated that the new arrangements will operate early next year.

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