A recent DVSA enforcement operation in Staffordshire targeting curtain-sided lorries has seen 37 vehicles checked, 20 immediate and seven delayed prohibitions issued and three curtainsiders taken off the road immediately, due to poor load security.

Announcing the results of the operation, DVSA said: "Unlike box-sided vehicles, the curtains on a curtain-sided vehicle are not designed to secure the load so it is vital that loads are securely restrained to prevent movement.

"In most cases, the load must be secured using a suitable system such as lashing straps. Failure to properly secure goods can in serious cases cause load shifts that can lead to a loss of life."

DVSA revealed that one of the most serious issues encountered by examiners was a rigid curtain-sided lorry fully loaded with building supplies. The driver thought the curtains were load securing and didn’t use any restraining methods on them.

The agency warned: "There was a real risk that this load could have shifted and affected the stability of the vehicle. It could have caused the vehicle to topple over on the highway or even cause a collision."

It added: "Elsewhere, a lorry loaded with 7.7 tonnes of machinery on a trailer was stopped by DVSA examiners. They were horrified to find it wasn’t secured to the bed of the trailer, meaning it could have shifted at any moment."

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DVSA examiners were also concerned to find a number of brake related defects on another trailer during the week of action. A rolling road brake test was carried out which confirmed that the service brakes on all three axles did not work.

Additionally, one of the tyres on the trailer had sidewall damage exposing the cords on the tyre. The dangerous vehicle was removed from the road until all the defects were repaired.

"This action took a dangerous vehicle off the road and could have prevented a serious incident," the DVSA said.

The majority of the vehicles inspected had loads which were carried safely. Vehicle examiners also took the opportunity during the operation to dispense advice on best practice to drivers of other vehicles including their responsibility to make sure their load is safe.  

DVSA said this week that with the recent update in the categorisation of defects, operators and drivers should ensure they are acting compliantly.

DVSA’s Director of Enforcement, Marian Kitson added: "Operators and drivers of HGVs have a duty to make sure their lorries are safe and all loads are transported securely.

"While most in the vehicle industry follow the rules, DVSA won’t hesitate in taking action against operators whose negligence endangers lives.”