THOUSANDS of obstructions caused by unsafe loads have been recovered on Warwickshire’s roads in the last four years – prompting the county’s police and road safety body to urge industry to improve load security.
Warwickshire Road Safety Partnership including Warwickshire Police’s Commercial Vehicle Unit has put its full support behind an open letter asking commercial vehicle operators and drivers to make sure all loads are secure and vehicles with loads are safe and legal before they set off.
In Warwickshire between January 2017 and August 2021, 986 straps, 1,144 tyres and 64 shed loads were recovered along with 5,386 other obstructions on the county’s road network.
Carl Stafford of Warwickshire Police Commercial Vehicle Unit said: “Commercial vehicles are currently overrepresented in road traffic collision statistics. For this to change we urgently need drivers, vehicle operators, and those loading vehicles or trailers for others to play their part in preventing deaths and injuries on our roads.
“Sadly we see the results of insecure loads falling from vehicles and killing or seriously injuring innocent people as part of our role. This is totally preventable and totally unacceptable.
“We are asking commercial vehicle drivers to do regular walk around checks of their vehicles every time they get into them to check straps and loads are safe and properly secured. We are also asking drivers to do additional checks on their load when they stop for breaks to ensure their straps and chains have not come loose during transit. This could save someone’s life.
“We will continue to patrol the county’s roads during operations such as Safer Loads and Operation Tramline, looking for these dangerous vehicles and as well as issuing Traffic Offence Reports and preventing vehicles moving until loads are made secure, will refer drivers and companies to the Traffic Commissioner for further action to be considered.“
National Highways Assistant Regional Safety Co-ordinator Marie Biddulph said anyone carrying a load – whether a commercial or private vehicle – had a responsibility to make sure the load is properly secured.
She said: “Unsafe vehicles are a threat to all road users.
“We know that carrying out simple safety checks on vehicle loads can prevent devastating tragedies, which is why we have signed this open letter alongside our safety partners urging all drivers to make sure their load is properly secured every time they get behind the wheel.
“Before setting off, drivers need to be confident that their vehicle is appropriate for the load being carried, that it is not overloaded and has been loaded properly, using the appropriate securing system. The consequences of not doing those checks could be fatal.”
The Open Letter is part of a national week of action that aims to improve the safety of commercial vehicles using our roads.