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Warwickshire Police has intercepted 121 vehicles during three joint operations with Highways England, HMRC, Datatag, NaVCIS and DVSA targeting unsafe and insecure loads on the M40, M6, M42 and A5 as part of a month long focus on Safer Loads to improve public safety on the county’s roads.
During the operations, officers from the Commercial Vehicle Unit exercised their professional judgement to look for load issues such as overweight vehicles, bulging curtain side or insecure loads and used high visibility motorcycles to intercept any vehicles.
The vehicles were escorted in to a check site so that officers and staff could examine their load and check tax, insurance, tyres, tachograph and the general condition of the vehicle.
On 3 February, officers brought a total of 35 vehicles from the M40 into the services near Warwick where 15 vehicles received Traffic Offence Reports – 9 of these were for vehicles being overweight and 2 vehicles were seized for no insurance. One vehicle was found to be using red diesel illegally. HMRC dealt with this by means of a fine exceeding £500. The transport company the vehicle belongs to has a fleet of vehicles and was also visited by HMRC as part of their investigation.
On 12 February, officers brought a total of 53 vehicles from the M6 into Corley Services for advice and vehicle safety checks to be made. Of these 18 received Traffic Offence Reports including one vehicle that was found to be 21% overweight. The DVSA issued 7 immediate prohibitions to drivers as a result of defects found on vehicles, and they were prevented from continuing their journey until the defect was corrected
On 25 February, officers brought a total of 33 vehicles into check sites on the M42 and A5 near Tamworth in a joint operation with Staffordshire Police and Warwickshire Police Rural Crime Team. Fourteen Traffic Offence Reports were issued during the day including one vehicle that was found to be 25% overweight and the driver was required to reduce the load before being allowed to continue on his journey.
Sergeant Shaun Bridle of the Commercial Vehicle Unit said “The operation is not just about enforcement. Throughout the month advice was given to many drivers around what they need to do to ensure loads are safely secured”.
“There is a risk to the public every day due to drivers not securing their loads properly. Loads can shift causing injury to drivers, or fall into the road causing injury to other road users and pedestrians. Our aim is to reduce the number of people who are killed or seriously injured on Warwickshire’s roads and we will continue to target vehicles for these offences”.
We are asking all drivers carrying heavy loads to ensure they are secured before setting off and to check they remain secure during the journey at regular intervals. Road safety is all of our responsibilities.
Highways England Assistant Regional Safety Co-ordinator Marie Biddulph said:
“Simple safety checks on loads can prevent devastating road accidents and save lives.
“Before setting off, drivers need to be confident that their vehicle is appropriate for the load being carried, it is not overloaded and has been loaded properly, using the appropriate securing system.
“Unsafe vehicles are a threat to all road users. Advice on securing loads is available here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/load-securing-vehicle-operator-guidance/load-securing-vehicle-operator-guidance.”
Warwickshire Police would like to thank our partner agencies including Highways England, Staffordshire Police and the DVSA for their support.
Further operations are planned on Warwickshire’s roads all aimed at reducing the number of killed and seriously injured on the region’s roads.
The results of the three operations are as follows:-
Of the 121 vehicles brought in to the check sites, 59% had issues or offences found.
9 vehicles received a Traffic Offence Report for insecure loads
22 vehicles were given advice for having an insecure load
20 vehicles were overweight
4 vehicles were found to have no insurance or tax and were seized and 1 vehicle had no MOT.
4 vehicles had defective tyres
2 vehicles had tachograph offences
1 vehicle was found to be using red diesel
One non UK registered HGV had failed to pay the Levy required to use the UK’s roads and was issued with a £300 fixed penalty notice.
One vehicle had no operators licence and three vehicles failed to display their operators licence
DVSA issued 11 immediate prohibitions to drivers as a result of defects found on vehicles, and they were prevented from continuing their journey until the defect was corrected.
The operation was not just limited to commercial vehicles.
1 driver received a Traffic Offence Report (TOR) for not wearing a seatbelt (potential £100 fine) a motorcyclist received a TOR for driving other than in accordance with his licence and had his motorcycle seized and another driver was stopped for using a mobile phone whilst driving (a potential 6 points on their licence and a £200 fine. One driver received a TOR due to their tinted windows as they did not let through enough light, and the driver had to remove these from his windows before he was allowed to continue.
Safer Loads advice includes:
Drivers carrying out daily walk-around checks to ensure their loads are secure.
Drivers should also do a quick series of checks before setting off. Almost half of all breakdowns are caused by simple mechanical problems that could be avoided by simply checking fuel levels, tyres, engine oil, water and lights.
A few minutes spent planning journeys and checking road conditions before setting off can also save time and frustration later.