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Essex Police operation focusses on carriage of dangerous goods

Crime / Sun 26th May 2024 at 03:49pm

ESSEX Police regularly carry out proactive patrols and operations to make roads in Essex safe for everyone and reduce the number of fatalities.

A spokespEarlier this month, our Commercial Vehicle Unit (CVU) worked with other forces on a multi-agency, multi-force road safety operation, focussing on the carriage of dangerous goods.

Between 7 and 10 May, Essex’s CVU joined forces with Commercial Vehicle Units from Norfolk Police and Suffolk Police and partner agencies, including the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency.

Dangerous goods, often hazardous materials, are those that are recognised as potentially posing a risk to people, animals or the environment if not properly handled while in use or during transport.

The road safety operation ensured compliance by drivers, safe loading, packing and storage and vehicle roadworthiness, reducing risk during transportation.

Lorries passing through the force areas included carriage of pesticides, flammable liquids (petrol and oil), building materials, car transporters, agricultural machinery and items used in the hospitality industry.

Essex’s Sergeant Jason Dearsley, Vice Chair of the National Carriage of Dangerous Goods Practitioners Forum, said: “Every day, thousands of business journeys pass through Essex, transporting goods, keeping the economy moving.
“It’s important that their business journeys run smoothly so as not to hinder their livelihood, but it’s equally important that the movement of goods is done safely and the regulations covering the carriage of dangerous goods is very stringent to protect everyone who uses our roads.”

Operation Chemical covered the area bounded by the strategic road network of:

Norfolk – Thetford (A11)
Suffolk – Bury St Edmunds (A14)
Essex – Harlow (M11)
Cambridgeshire- Sawtry (A1(M))

Over four days, a total of 86 vehicles were checked – 60 HGVs, 24 LGVs and 2 cars.

Out of 41 vehicles used in the carriage of dangerous goods, 20 were, thankfully all in order, but four drivers were issued penalty notices, 16 drivers were given warnings or advice and one incident will require further enquiries regarding their radioactive shipment.

Commercial vehicles were also stopped for a variety of offences involving their load security and vehicle condition: 12 for overweight, 8 insecure loads and 8 drivers not wearing seatbelts.

The Roads Policing officer added: “We’re also concerned about the welfare of drivers – tiredness kills – drivers need time to rest, and their driving hours are legally set out.
“Unfortunately, we had to intervene after we found 10 drivers were driving outside their driver hours, meaning they could put themselves at risk through lower levels of concentration caused by driving for too long without a break.
“Unbelievably, one HGV was being driven by a driver without an HGV licence.
There is no excuse for this risky behaviour – the law is clear about licences and the requirements to drive commercial vehicles.”

Earlier this year a lorry driver was convicted of carrying an insecure dangerous load of nitrogen gas cannisters after the lorry shed its load on the roundabout connecting Beeleigh Link and Chelmer Road in Chelmsford in July 2023.

When Roads Policing Officers arrived at the scene, the driver was trying to put the cannisters back in the trailer. Reviewing the lorry, officers discovered a single ratchet strap had been used to secure the metal frame which held the containers, but nothing was securing the cannisters in the frame.

PS Dearsley, said: “It was very fortunate that this incident did not result in the death of a road user or pedestrian on the footpath.
“It highlights the importance of load security and how friction and gravity are not adequate on their own.
“The driver fully co-operated with our investigation.
“As the Force Dangerous Goods Safety Adviser and Commercial Vehicle Unit Sergeant, my team and I interact with hauliers every day and delivering the message that road safety is everyone’s’ responsibility.
“We are fully committed to Vision Zero, our ambition to have no road deaths, as sadly, one road death is one too many.
“Five deaths per day and one serious injury collision every 16 minutes on UK roads is a travesty.
“This was totally avoidable, and I am thankful that I did not have to make that long walk up to a family’s door and deliver tragic news that changes lives forever.
“If a haulier wishes to speak to my team about visiting their company and delivering a toolbox talk to support them in having a compliant and safe operation, please contact us.”

The Commercial Vehicle Unit (CVU) is a dedicated team of specialist officers who target criminals using the roads on our strategic network, to commit crime.

In the 12 months from April 2023, they stopped 1,765 vehicles of which 1359 were HGVs, arrested 37 people and seized 54 vehicles as part of their work to keep our roads safe, identify offenders and prevent and detect crime that poses risks to other drivers and threatens the safety and well-being of our communities.

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