“I’m just taking the Christmas tree to the tip” – make sure the load is secure

Tomorrow marks 12th night and some traditions believe misfortune will befall anyone who keeps their Christmas decorations up beyond this date. The fact that it also falls on a Saturday means that many of us will be making the trip to the local tip to get rid of the tree and other festive waste that has accumulated over the last 2 weeks.

It’s important that when transporting any load in a vehicle to do so in a safe and secure way. Many potential offences can be committed by people when transporting loads that are insecure. Some of these are explained below.

Insecure load
A person is guilty of an offence is they use, or cause or permit another to use, a motor vehicle or a 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.

If the load you are carrying is insecure and it is seen by the police you could be liable to prosecution and you could receive a fine and 3 penalty points.

Dangerous driving
In certain circumstances you could be prosecuted for dangerous driving. If it would be obvious to a careful and competent driver that driving the vehicle in its current state would be dangerous then you could be guilty of dangerous driving. 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.

Dangerous driving carries disqualification and can result in a sentence of imprisonment.

Commercial Vehicles
Any insecure load can cause the risk of danger but this risk is clearly increased when the load in question is being carried by larger vehicles such as HGV. Formal guidance has been provided by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency in relation to the loading of commercial vehicles. The guidance can be accessed here and the Traffic Commissioners have made it clear that they expect operators to follow this guidance.  They have said that taking steps to address the risks associated with load securing is a critical component of your responsibilities, whether as a licence holder, transport manager or driver.

How can we help?
If you have any queries regarding a road traffic or transport matter contact us anytime on 0800 304 7740.

About the author

Callum is the head of the Motor and Transport team.  He is a solicitor with over 15 years of experience dealing with road traffic and transport matters.