Home > News > Volumetric Concrete Mixers must not be loaded above the vehicle sides and must be sheeted when used on the public road.

THE LAW HAS CHANGED! ALL VOLUMETRICS MUST NOW BE FITTED WITH A SHEETING SYSTEM.

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Categorisation of Vehicle Defects

On the 1st of May 2022, DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency) updated their Categorisation of Vehicle Defects guidance.

The guidance document is used to describe how vehicle defects found during roadside inspections or vehicle tests are categorised and what action will be taken when they’re found.

The updated guidance includes the new categorisation of load security.

What’s Changed?

  • The categorisation of defects has been updated to include new items, notes and amendments in parts 1 and 2 of the manual.
  • There are significant updates to the load security sections, which includes removing the reference to the load security matrix.
  • There are additional load security defects and notes.
  • Other updates include vehicles missing an obligatory seat belt, electronic stability control (ESC), suspension joints and overrun brakes.

Load Security

The new guidance includes a section on ‘Security of Load’ with a reference to Tippers.

The guidance has two specific references to Tippers relating to the ‘Severity of Defect’

  1. Un-sheeted loose load in bulk tipper, skip or sided flatbed body. The recommended action is an ‘Immediate Prohibition’ marked as an ‘I’.
  2. Load in a tipper above the height of the fixed sides. Again, the recommended action is an ‘Immediate Prohibition’ marked as an ‘I’, unless a rigid cover or a rated sheet completely covers and secures the load without any gaps.

Volumetric Concrete Mixers (VCM)

The updated guidance around load security will have an immediate impact on operators who run VCMs.

The load in a VCM must not be above the vehicle’s sides and must be sheeted when used on the public road.

There have been two incidents recently, in which the driver has been stopped for suspected load security offences.

In one incident, the vehicle was given an immediate prohibition until the vehicle load was sheeted and the driver received a £150 fine.

DVSA Response when questioned

Confirmation from DVSA Enforcement around load security is as follows:

“It’s always been the case that loose loads on tippers or any vehicles for that matter should be sheeted whether the load is hay or building waste.”

After a fatality involving a Tipper and an unsecured load, DVSA & HSE were issued with an official request from the Coroner, involved in the case, to review and change, where necessary, their approach to load security to prevent any future deaths. This is one of the factors behind the changes made to the categorisation of defects issued in May 2022 and to revise the guidance which is currently in the process of and due for release at some point in the summer.

“All we have actually done is remove the old matrix which our examiners used to assess load security because we felt it was no longer necessary to break down load and securing methods into different levels of risk. 

The basic premise is that any load irrespective of type presents a risk to road users if it becomes detached from a vehicle.

Volumetric Concrete Mixers must not be loaded above the vehicle sides and must be sheeted when used on the public road.”

 

Load Security Penalties

The consequences and penalties for both driver and the company on any load security offences have increased in severity, with a driver facing fines, a 6-month driving ban for a second offence within a 3-year period and loss of vocational licence.

For companies, load security now forms part of the ‘maintenance investigation report’ carried out by DVSA when visiting an operator.

Appropriate load security arrangements should be in place.

These arrangements include whether drivers and other relevant staff are appropriately trained.

In addition to driver and company prosecution and increased penalties, cases can also be referred to the Traffic Commissioners.

 

Remember – The load does not have to have fallen from the vehicle for there to be an offence.

The existence of danger is key.

If the insecure load led to a fatality, the driver could be prosecuted for causing death by dangerous driving, and the real possibility of a custodial sentence