Roads Policing Day of Action to Target HGV Vehicles Carrying Insecure Loads
Monday, 11 October, 2021
Officers from the Roads Policing Unit carried out a day of action last week looking at load security.
The day of action on Thursday (7 October) followed an open letter to industry, which was signed by West Yorkshire Police, calling on everyone involved in a vehicle carrying a load – be it the company, driver and loader – to ensure that every item being transported is secured appropriately.
Officers conducted checks at service areas where they were able to engage with HGV drivers and check
load security for compliance. They were joined by a representative from the Health and Safety Executive who offered officers advice and guidance as well as speaking to drivers and providing advice to them.
Nine drivers were issued with Traffic Offence Reports (TORs) for insecure load offences.
The day of action was part of the wider Op Tramline, a National Highways joint enforcement campaign
with police forces, utilising an unmarked HGV tractor unit to patrol the roads network.
As part of Op Tramline element of the day of action, TORs were issued for three seatbelt offences, one driving while using a mobile phone offence, one driving through a red light offence, one contravening a solid white line offence and one offence of stopping on a hard shoulder. One driver was reported for summons for driving a vehicle in a dangerous condition and another driver was given a vehicle defect rectification notice for failing to maintain lights.
Sergeant Steven Suggitt, of the Roads Policing Unit, said: “Driving any loaded commercial vehicle carries an additional burden of responsibility. The consequences of an insecure load or taking your eyes off the road, even for a matter of seconds, can be devastating, even more so if you are at the wheel of a lorry or other large vehicle.
“This is not about penalising HGV drivers but about working with them to ensure that everyone is playing their part to keep our roads safe.”
Wednesday, 6 October, 2021
West Yorkshire Police has given its support to an open letter to industry calling on everyone involved in a vehicle carrying a load – be it the company, driver and loader – to ensure that every item being transported is secured appropriately.
The open letter has been supported by a number of police forces across the country, the DVSA, National Highways and the Office of the Traffic Commissioner.
In West Yorkshire between January 2017 and August 2021, there were over 16,0000 obstructions on the road network.
Roads Policing Officers will be out looking at load security this week and taking positive enforcement action against those who risk causing serious injury in a collision through the inadequate or poor securing of load being transported. This not only effects HGVs, but includes all types of vehicles that are carrying additional loads either within the vehicle itself or in a trailer.
Chief Inspector Katy Woodmason, Head of Roads Policing at West Yorkshire Police, said: “Our officers see day in day out the effect of loads not being secured properly to vehicles. At the best it’s lane closures and disruption but at the worst it can result in serious injury to other road users.
“This open letter comes off the back of a campaign by the family of a Nottinghamshire grandfather who was killed on his way strawberry picking with his wife and two grandchildren. He died when a block of concrete fell from another vehicle and smashed his windscreen.
“Everyone involved in carrying loads must ensure that they play their part in making sure loads are secured properly.”
The open letter says:
Nobody goes to work to intentionally harm or kill someone, but the reality is that unless you make sure the loads you carry are safe you are putting yourself and other people at risk during your journey and when you come to unload.
Any item capable of being thrown from or bouncing out of a vehicle needs to be secured whatever vehicle it is being carried on, whether it’s a plastic bucket or wheelbarrow, steel beams or heavy plant equipment. Even small items can kill or seriously injure someone if they come off a vehicle at speed. Delays and disruption on the road network because of load debris cost the UK economy millions of pounds every year.
Load shift incidents on the road and in the workplace are both foreseeable and completely preventable. Police forces, the Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) and National Highways are working together to protect people, but we can’t do it alone. Drivers, vehicle operators, and those loading vehicles or trailers for others (consignors) must also play their part in preventing deaths and injuries.
There is no excuse for sending dangerous vehicles onto the road network and putting people at risk. Appropriate enforcement action will be taken where individuals and companies are found to have recklessly broken the law.
The Road Traffic Act 1988 and the Road Vehicles (Construction & Use) Regulations 1986 say you must make sure that anything transported on or in a vehicle or trailer is secured so that it does not move during the journey and put people at risk. The Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 says that employers and the self-employed whose work puts others at risk must take steps to protect both their own employees and anyone else who could be at risk. Everyone has responsibilities to make sure that the load is safe and it’s not enough to simply assume the driver is the only responsible party once the vehicle leaves your site or rely on not having had something go badly wrong before.
• If you operate vehicles or load vehicles for other people, you must take steps to protect the driver, other road users, pedestrians, and anyone involved in loading or unloading. You must make sure drivers and people loading vehicles have the right training, information, and equipment to do their jobs safely. It is not enough to assume that the driver will make it right and your legal responsibilities do not end when the vehicle leaves your site.
• If you drive vehicles, make sure you know what you need to do. Challenge poor practice in the workplace where you can and ask for training if you are asked to take something out and you are not sure how it should be secured. Don’t assume it will be ok just because you’ve always done it that way. Check your securing equipment every time you use it and don’t use damaged equipment.
Free load security guidance is available from DVSA and free workplace transport guidance and resources to help you assess risk are available from HSE. Other guidance from National Highways, industry associations, and trade unions is also available to help you make sure you’re operating safely.
We all want our roads to be safe as possible and we all want to go home safely at the end of the working day. Play your part by making sure that everything you carry is secured and the vehicles you load are safe and legal before they set off.
More information is available at:
Load securing: vehicle operator guidance - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
HSE: Information about health and safety at work
To find out more about the incident in Nottinghamshire, please visit: Devastated family spark open letter to industry | Nottinghamshire Police