It’s important to remember that drivers are not just responsible for the way they drive when they’re on the road. They’re also responsible for the safety of their load. But it’s not just the driver that has that responsibility – fleet managers and other people in authority within the company can also be held to account.
Writing for our partners at Driving for Better Business, Mike Hayward, Partner for Road Transport, Crime and Regulatory at Woodfines Solicitors, says: “It is not only an offence committed by the person driving that vehicle but also by anyone who causes or permits this to take place. For instance, a fleet manager permitting a vehicle to go out on the road with an unsafe load could result in the business also being prosecuted.”
Crucially for van drivers and fleet managers, people can be guilty of an offence if harm is caused by: “The weight, position or distribution of its load, or how it is secured.”
Sanctions for offences can include penalty points for the driver or severe fines. But more importantly, as Mike writes: “The consequences of a vehicle being dangerously loaded could lead to a serious incident, leading to an investigation into dangerous driving or causing serious injury or death by careless or dangerous driving. It is not then a case of dealing with fines or penalty points, but instead a risk of a custodial sentence.”
For more information on your responsibilities as a driver or fleet manager, visit the Driving for Better Business website and check out Mike’s article, Safe loading – a legal update to help take a load off your mind.
At System Edström, we help customers avoid these consequences, by incorporating in our advice and design solutions features that reduce these risks. Through the use of anchor points, load restraints, specific positions for heavy equipment and weights checks so axle and gross weights are not exceeded, we can help you make sure your loads are secure.