FTA publishes secure load guide for vans
According to the FTA, a clear source of guidance on the secure loading of LGVs has been sorely missing.
Worryingly, the LGV overloading prohibition rate found by traffic enforcers increased from 55.1% in 2007 to 66.9% in 2009, as shown by VOSA figures.
James Hookham, FTA’s policy director, said: '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.'
Unlike previous research, the project conducted by the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) accounts for the typical forces experienced by an LGV and its load in a collision. This compares to the Department for Transport’s (DfT) code of practice on load retention, which the FTA says only accounts for deceleration forces of 1G, as found in normal driving conditions; a serious collision can generate more than 20 times this force.
Mr Hookham continued: '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.'
He concluded: 'While the frequency of injuries caused by loads in accidents is comparatively low, the consequences of such incidents are of the gravest concern. Our research will provide much-needed guidance to operators and users, especially important in the face of corporate manslaughter legislation.'