Two lorry drivers used their vehicles to stop a 44-tonne wagon with a drunk man behind the wheel on a stretch of the A1(M) in Yorkshire, England, the BBC reports.
They stopped Petro Dziadevuch, 65, of no fixed abode, after they spotted him driving erratically on the northbound carriageway near Doncaster on Sunday.
A roadside breath test revealed the Polish national was almost five times the drink-drive limit. He was jailed for four months, disqualified from driving for 32 months, and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £128 and court costs of £85.
Sgt Mark Smith, a roads policing officer with South Yorkshire Police, said Dziadevuch was so drunk he was unfit for questioning for more than 16 hours while in police custody.
Since the enlargement of May 1st 2004 when Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia joined the EU, east European drivers have gained a reputation in the UK for dangerous driving.
A third of accidents involving foreign lorries happen on motorways – nearly eight times higher than the national average rate for the UK’s 70mph highways – with experts blaming drivers unfamiliar with UK highways, driving on the ‘opposite’ side of the road and often blind-sided.
In August 2007 it was reported that immigrants from Eastern Europe were also responsible for nearly 15 per cent of fatal crashes on rural roads. At the time, John Fort, executive member for community safety in North Yorkshire, said: “We’ve noticed there’s becoming quite a serious problem with immigrant drivers from Eastern Europe.
“They tend to pile a lot of people into one car, drive too fast, go round roundabouts the wrong way and often indulge in drink-driving.
“As a group, there is a distinct lack of common sense and we as a county council have decided that we will make a real effort to get to the bottom of the problem.”
The Motor Insurers’ Bureau, which handles claims from crashes caused by uninsured drivers, said that the number of claims against Polish drivers had more than tripled in the two years from 2005-2007.
Eastern Europeans taking part in roadside breath tests were also twice as likely as the average drink driver to be serious offenders who have at least two-and-a-half times the legal alcohol limit in their systems.
In subsequent years it became apparent that Lithuanian HGV drivers posed a particularly high risk to other road users with one UK legal firm, JF Law LTD, of Wirral, specialising in representing victims on British roads.
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