Project: Assessment of HGV Load security Data

Reference: S050E/VE

Last update: 05/12/2003 08:56:31


The objective of this project is to investigate the possibility of the reduction of casualties and congestion caused from load shedding, by improving load retention.


This project seeks to further the UK's knowledge of the way in which loads are secured to Heavy Goods Vehicles, as the current national code of practice is inadequate. We need to know why loads are frequently shed with a view to reducing the number of injuries, road hazards and the inconvenience of traffic congestion generated through load shedding. At present we have very little information on this subject, but what we do have, shows that the problem is very serious.

The total extent of the problem nationally over the 3,147 miles of motorway network and 44,483 miles of trunk and principle roads is obviously very great. An employee of Kent County Council was killed in 1988 retrieving some rubbish from a live carriageway.

An example of one of the more severe incidents that we are aware of involved large steel coils, which had been insecurely restrained to the vehicle, falling off and killing people. This project is to provide an overall view of the problem of loading and load security.


TRL Limited
Crowthorne House, Nine Mile Ride, Wokingham, Berkshire, RG40 3GA
+44 (0)1344 773131

Contract details

Cost to the Department: £125,500.00

Actual start date: 01 March 1993

Actual completion date: 23 January 1998


Load Shedding Incidents
Author: TRL Ltd
Publication date: 20/01/1998
Source: Contact:

PR/SE/323/97. The Load Security of Heavy Goods Vehicle Operations
Author: TRL Ltd
Publication date: 01/12/1997
Source: Contact:

Summary of results

  1. This project revealed a variety of problems with load security, ranging from insufficient numbers of restraints to loose or damaged ropes and straps and, in some cases, the distribution of the load was poor. It became apparent from the study that the problem is widespread and many drivers either are not aware of the DETR code of practice for the safe loading of vehicles or they ignore it.

    The results and recommendations from this study are detailed in the project reports.