Thursday, June 24, 2010

Freight Transport Association Warns White Van Man Of Overloading Freight Dangers  

Most Common Offence Committed by Drivers of Small Commercial Vehicles

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UK –This week the Freight Transport Association (FTA) offered a timely reminder to the owners and operators of vans about the problems and dangers of overloading cargo or equipment into small commercials. The FTA has published a best practice guide for transport managers on the safe securing of loads in vans. The intention is to provide realistic and practical advice, clarifying compliance standards for operators and helping them to improve their drivers’ safety.

Worryingly, yet unsurprisingly to many industry insiders, the LGV overloading prohibition rate found by traffic enforcers increased from 55.1 per cent in 2007 to 66.9 per cent in 2009 (VOSA) making it by far the most common offence found among light goods vehicles (LGVs). Often drivers are unaware of the actual carrying capacity of their vehicles and equally many shippers fail to provide accurate weights for consignments they consider too small to warrant proper attention.

Additionally, many drivers are unaware that correctly distributed axle weights, even on small vehicles can be crucial to ensure the safety of their vehicles, and problems like this led the FTA to commission the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) to conduct a research project – jointly-funded by members of FTA’s Utilities Working Group – which, unlike previous research, accounted for the typical forces experienced by an LGV and its load in a collision. While the Department for Transport’s (DfT) code of practice on load retention only accounts for deceleration forces of 1G, as found in normal driving conditions, a serious collision can generate more than 20 times this force. FTA used TRL’s unparalleled experience of analysing road traffic accidents within the UK to identify the real risks of unsecured loads in everyday situations.

James Hookham, FTA’s Policy Director, said:

“With many of its members running vans as well as trucks, FTA recognises the strong need for consistent and clear guidance regarding the safe securing of loads, especially in the face of more onerous operator liability.

“We wanted to fill the void in guidance with meaningful advice based on realistic data to not only improve the safety of drivers and passengers in commercial vehicles, but also remove any legal ambiguities, so that operators know exactly where they stand.

“DfT and European Commission guidance is largely inadequate as it fails to account for the stresses experienced in a typical collision. In fact, court cases have shown that it can no longer be relied upon as a benchmarking device.”

1. The full version of A Technical Reference on Cargo Restraint for Light Commercial Vehicles Under Accident Conditions can be downloaded now by FTA members HERE

2. FTA has also produced: a 12-minute driver training film ‘’Safe Loading of Vans and Light Goods Vehicles’’. The two-disc DVD set also includes a manager’s disc with tests and answer papers.

A Safe Loading of Vans Guide for drivers, and drivers’ pocket card.

Van Drivers’ Handbook Van Check and Defect Report Pad

Van Driver Walk Around Check Poster Visit the FTA Shop or call 08717 11 11 11 for more information or to place an order.

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