Statistics in the news this week published by Highways England show that there were 75,371 incidents involving HGVs above 3.5 tonnes in 2015, an increased figure from previous years.
We’ve had a look at the various causes of these incidents and the precautions you can take to avoid them.
Load Securing and Strap Incidents
The number of load securing related incidents actually decreased from previous years. Load securing is not a best practice issue but a legal requirement so it is vital that drivers and operators take this very seriously. Strap incidents which are closely related to load securing incidents are on the up with an increase of nearly 10% from 2014. Even with better load securing, straps are falling off and this is causing over 1000 hours of network disruption to other road users. The main causes of these incidents are:
– Incorrect positioning/application
– Incorrect tensioning
– Poor condition
– Lack of in-use checks during transit where loads settle and straps slacken but are not adjusted
– Stowage of straps on the vehicle
Fuel Leaks and Spillages
The numbers of incidents involving fuel spills increased by over half, rising to 533 incidents in 2015. A lot of these are unforeseen and unavoidable although some spillages caused by the use of temporary/non approved tank caps are. Operators should always check their vehicle fuel tank cap seals as if there is an issue and other road users are affected by road contamination, this will count as a defect which could lead to a prohibition.
Various other causes of incidents highlighted include:
– Brake and wheel issues
– Tyres overheating
– Overloading of tyres
– Tyre under inflation, failure or excess wear and exposure
Regular vehicle maintenance and driver checks will go far towards mitigating the risk of incidents occurring which cause danger to other road users, damage to reputation and can ultimately affect your Operator Licence and lead to prosecutions. Negative points aside, fewer incidents will lead to a better delivery record, and a safer more profitable business, so avoidance is key.