Secure your vehicle load or face prosecution

A lot of people think heavier loads carried on vehicles, are more likely to be secure but, it can be the opposite.

Unsecured loads contribute to more than 22,000 road-related incidents on motorways. Many go unreported so the figure is likely to be much higher.


In 2013, DVSA, which handles lorry, bus, and coach enforcement, issued over 2,000 prohibitions to vehicles.

They all had a road safety risk because of how drivers had secured the load.

In the same period, the Highways Agency reported more than 22,000 road impact incidents caused by objects falling from vehicles.

Unsecured loads

An unsecured load can be any unsecured item on a carrying vehicle. Farming supplies, smaller vehicles, steel, scrap metal, building materials. It can be any number of things.

Highways England traffic officers have dealt with several items. These include a washing machine, sofa, and king-size mattress. A double-glazed door, garden sheds, and a ship’s mast.

It’s not only visible loads either.  Heavy goods vehicles carrying goods inside the wagon can be dangerous if not secured. Load retaining curtains are often not enough to secure the load. Suitable pallets, nets, lashing, or tarpaulin must secure the goods inside.

Highways England, road team manager Mark Snell, said: “We have had fence panels, a shed, tools, tool boxes, motorcycle bags and top boxes – the whole contents on one family’s top box was spread all over three lanes as they were on their way to a holiday in the West Country. On one occasion there was a double-glazed door and windows on the slip road at junction 6 of the M3 with cars swerving around them.”

Common accidents

Construction items are often seen in unsecured load incidents. But accidents can happen with any item which is not secured.

Common causes of accidents include:

Flying objects – an unsecured object leaves the vehicle.

Objects in the road – fallen objects cause a hazard for other road users or pedestrians.

Rollover collisions – heavy unsecured loads can cause the carrying vehicle to topple over.

Obscured view – the load can block the view of the driver or vehicles behind.


Company employers should complete checks before driving with any load.

Chris Yarsley, policy manager from the Freight Transport Association, recommends individual drivers do the same.

He said: “Paying close attention to load security must be a primary concern for all drivers using our roads and we would advise the public to check their vehicles closely before departure, in the same way that logistics operators conduct a daily walk round check before starting work to ensure everything is safe and secure.

“Transporting a secure load not only keeps others on the road safe but also ensures that vehicles and loads arrive on time, without incident.”

Accident liability

Authorities can prosecute anyone for causing death due to negligence on their part.

Negligence could be ignorance or the lack of effective processes. Such as failing to follow existing guidance.

This can result in large fines for a company or individuals in the case of a partnership or sole trader.

You could be due compensation if you have an injury from a collision with an unsecured load.


We have experience in dealing with compensation claims for unsecured load incidents. Our solicitors will provide FREE legal consultations for injuries caused by an unsecured load.

Advice is from qualified solicitors, regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

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Advice on securing loads