FTA urges action after driver dies at migrant barrier

By Matt Atherton contact

- Last updated on GMT

The FTA warned of more fatalities if the French government doesn't intervene
The FTA warned of more fatalities if the French government doesn't intervene

Related tags: Large goods vehicle, Fta

The French government must take urgent action to protect drivers’ safety after a van driver was killed when his vehicle crashed into lorries allegedly queuing at a makeshift barrier, made by migrants, near Calais, said the Freight Transport Association (FTA).

The authorities must detain migrants and move them away from the area surrounding Calais, or risk further fatalities, the FTA said. The FTA – whose members include food and drink logistics firms – claimed the death on Tuesday morning (June 20) was preventable.

FTA EU affairs manager Chris Yarsley said: “This has brought the issue of migrants targeting drivers in Calais to the fore once again. The FTA warned two years ago that their actions would lead to a death and it is now imperative that the French government takes action to control the situation and ensures the safety of drivers travelling to and from the port.

‘Dangerous road blocks’

“Major roads around Calais must be effectively policed to prevent migrants creating these dangerous road blocks. Authorities must do more to detain migrants and move them away from the area.”

The van hit one of three heavy goods vehicles that were blocked by the barricade, and subsequently burst into flames, according to local authorities. The incident happened near Guemps on the A16 motorway, about nine miles southwest of Calais.

The FTA had warned French authorities that fatalies could occur if the migrant problem wasn’t resolved, it claimed. After the ‘Jungle camp’ in Calais was cleared at the end of last year, the situation improved, the FTA said. But, drivers were complaining of more migrant disruption recently, it warned.

‘Step up patrols’

“Driver safety is paramount,”​ Yarsley said, “and the French government needs to step up patrols on the major routes and move on migrants who are camped at the side of the road.

“This tragic incident demonstrates the risks to drivers and other road users, including day trippers and tourists. This death was wholly preventable, and we must ensure that no-one else dies as a result of the dangerous actions of migrants on the roads.”

The FTA estimated that about 700 migrants had returned to the Calais area since the Jungle camp was cleared.

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