Fleet News

Major van safety project launched (includes crash test video)

A major research project looking at the safe securing of loads and equipment in vans has been launched by the Freight Transport Association (FTA).

The hope is that the project will establish best practice guidelines for load retention and consider the typical forces experienced in a crash.

The FTA says operators are confused by differing opinions on how secure loads need to be.

Some say the load should not move irrespective of the forces involved, while the Department for Transport says loads should withstand forces up to 1G.

The research will be carried out in association with the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL).

It will investigate not only the outcome of crashes but also the likelihood of them taking place, using its considerable experience and data on UK traffic accidents.

Video - note the intrusion of the load into the driver compartment

Paul Wood, a member of the FTA’s utilities working group, said: “Our goal is to make vehicles safer and stay one step ahead of the legislation.

“It is apparent that across the transport industry there is now little or no guidance as to the reasonable expectation of how loads and their associated stowage should perform in accidents.

“While the incidence of injuries caused by loads in accidents is statistically very low, the consequence of trying to resolve this particularly difficult problem without guidance is giving grave concern to people charged with providing solutions.

“It is necessary for operators and enforcement agencies to establish reliable, reasonable and above all practical guidance on these issues.”

Dr Mike Neale, TRL’s senior research engineer on the project, said: “The best practice guide that we are developing will help to address this shortcoming, providing a valuable reference for fleet operators, racking suppliers and vehicle manufacturers.

“Ultimately, it is hoped that the best practice guide will contribute to reducing road casualties.”

The research is due to be completed by the end of the year.

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