Fleet News

Van racking crash tests could become law

New laws requiring van racking systems to be crash-tested could be on the statute books within five years following an industry-leading initiative by racking specialist Sortimo.

At present, there is no requirement for any such testing and Sortimo believes that some systems in place at present could result in a driver’s death in the event of an accident.

Sortimo carried out its own tests with the help of the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) in which a system was loaded up with 500kg of goods and crashed at 31mph. While its own system hardly buckled, a similar DIY set-up smashed right in to the cab, which could have resulted in death in a real-life situation.

Now Sortimo is working with the TRL, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) and the Freight Transport Association (FTA) to draw up a best practice guide for all van racking firms.

Sortimo sales manager Chris Jones said: “Our best practice guide should be ready within 18 months but it will take about five years before any of this will become legislation.

“It is amazing but at present there are no legal tests required at all before firms can start selling van racking systems and we want to change that.

“People don’t realise how much damage can be caused when cargo starts flying about after a crash.

“For example, a screwdriver in a van which crashed at 30mph will move forward with a velocity equal to a weight of 11 tons. It’s a frightening thought.”

Sortimo says its own racks are built on to a flexible floor which bends in an accident and absorbs the shock without passing it on to the racks themselves.

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