Insecure Loads on Heavy Goods Vehicles
The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) define a secure load as one which is attached to a Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) so that it will not fall or affect the vehicle stability and cause danger or injury to other road users. The driver and vehicle operator share responsibility for securing loads on their vehicles and could face driving licence penalty points, fines and even imprisonment for insecure load offences. There are also laws governing the weighs of loads to be transported. For more information see our page on vehicle weight laws and regulations.
HGV insecure load offences can seriously affect your livelihood and business and we advise you seek legal advice if you or one of your drivers has committed an insecure load offence. We specialise in keeping you on the road, contact us today for expert advice and guidance.
The DVSA require that loads are secured to the vehicle bed to prevent 100% of forward movement, 50% sideways movement and 50% rear movement. They also advise that the internally fitted straps of curtain sided vehicles be used to secure loads of no more than 400kg in weight. You must also sheet any open vessels such as skips or bulk carrying vehicles when carrying loose loads. The DVSA along with the Police have the power to enforce the law concerning goods vehicle loads.
HGV Insecure Load Offences & Penalties
Under the Road Traffic Act 1991 there are a number of offences that can be committed for insecure loading of Heavy Goods Vehicles. The legislation addresses the use of a vehicle in a dangerous condition stating:
A person is guilty of an offence if he uses, or causes or permits another to use, a motor vehicle or trailer on a road when the weight, position or distribution of its load, or the manner in which it is secured, is such that the use of the motor vehicle or trailer involves a danger of injury to any person.
It also states in relation to loads that causing anything to be on or over the road which could cause danger to other road users is an offence.
The Act also states a person may be liable for prosecution for dangerous driving as follows:
A person is regarded as driving dangerously if it would be obvious to a competent and careful driver that driving the vehicle in its current state would be dangerous. The state of the vehicle includes anything attached to or carried on or in it and to the manner in which it is attached or carried.
Under this legislation there are a number of traffic offences which can be committed for insecure loads which carry driving licence endorsements, fines and prison sentence penalties.
Causing or likely to cause danger by reason of load or passengers
The offence of causing or likely to cause danger by reason of load or passengers is legislated for by the 1991 Act and carries the endorsement code CU50.
The maximum penalty for this offence if committed by a goods vehicle is a £5,000 fine, three driving licence penalty points which stays on a licence for 4 years and a disqualification.
The offence of dangerous driving carries the endorsement code DD40 and the maximum penalty for the offence is a minimum 12 months driving disqualification and 2 years imprisonment.
The offence of causing death by dangerous driving carries the endorsement code of DD80 and a maximum penalty of 14 years imprisonment and a minimum driving disqualification for 2 years.
The offence of driving without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other road users carries the endorsement code CD30 which has a penalty of 3 to 9 driving licence penalty points on your licence for 4 years.
HGV Insecure Load Penalties
The Police and the DVSA have the power to issue penalties for insecure load offences. A Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) of £100 will be issued to the driver of the vehicle carrying an insecure load. The FPN must be paid within 28 days by the driver and depending on the severity of the offence they may also have endorsements added to their driving licence.
The Police or DVSA official will also issue a prohibition notice to the driver, who must pass this to the vehicle’s operator. Serious insecure load offences will receive an immediate prohibition notice (PG9) which immobilises the vehicle with immediate effect. For minor insecure load offences a Vehicle Inspection Notice will be issued which does not prevent the vehicle being used. The driver must inform the vehicle operator of any offences committed and notices issued.
If a driver receives a FPN the operator of the vehicle in which the offence was committed will be sent an Operator Notification Letter. They must then inform the Traffic Commissioner of their driver’s FPN. Failure to notify the Traffic Commissioner is a breach of operator licence conditions which could result in a public inquiry.
It is very important to be aware of the legal requirements for both drivers and operators of HGVs regarding insecure loads as infringement of the rules can mean losing your business or livelihood. If you or one of your drivers have committed an insecure load offence contact our team today for expert advice and guidance.