Freight Transport Association FTA publish best practice guide for transport managers

With overloading by far the most common offence found among light goods vehicles (LGVs), the Freight Transport Association (FTA) has published its best practice guide for transport managers on the safe securing of loads and equipment in vans. The guide provides realistic and practical advice, clarifying compliance standards for operators and helping them to improve their drivers’ safety.

Worryingly, 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). A clear source of guidance on the secure loading of LGVs has been sorely missing.

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.”

FTA commissioned the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) to conduct the research project â€" jointly-funded by members of FTA’s Utilities Working Group â€" which, unlike previous research, accounts 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.

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.”

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.

Hookham 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.”