UK lorry drivers have been accused of ‘having blood on their hands’ by the government’s former Chief Scientific adviser, Professor Sir David Kang.
The accusation comes after a secret probe found that many lorry drivers are cheating tough emission controls with a computer hack.
Strict rules were introduced in an attempt to reduce the number of deaths linked to toxic nitrogen oxides, known as NOx, the rules mean that every diesel lorry over 3.5 tonnes must have a filter fitted on its exhaust.
Despite 23,500 deaths a year being linked to NOx many haulage companies who are trying to cut costs are paying £700 a time to disable the device by hacking their vehicles on board computers.
Last night Professor Sir David King, said: ‘Hauliers that have cheated on the system have blood on their hands. People are dying because of NOx levels in our country.’
Undercover Investigators met a mechanic from a software programming firm called Ecuflash and secretly filmed him.
The mechanic said it took 20 minutes to remove the lorry computer. Once software had been hacked it took another 20 minutes to reinstall.
‘It’s just a program that we put in the truck that turns the filter off. It’s all plugged in and they’ll never know,’ he said.
Haulage operators have been tempted to break the law and have their computers hacked as faulty filters can cost upwards of £5,000 to fix and take the lorry off the road for a couple of weeks.
The RHA shave called for transport authorities to take urgent action on the matter.
Watch the full dispatches episode on demand here