'The consequences could be devastating' - cops crackdown on danger drivers putting lives at risk carrying unsecured loads
Dangerous drivers have been accused of putting lives at risk after trees, pallets of fizzy pop and even a car were found precariously balanced while being transported on roads in the North East.
Northumbria Police have condemned a handful of drivers after they were pulled over on roads across the region during a two week campaign that finished last week.
Officers had been running an operation alongside Highways England to target drivers who had not properly secured their cargo as they transported it through the force area.
It followed 968 incidents reported of debris on the road from April 2020 to April 2021.
Specialist police officers from the Motor Patrols Department carried out spot checks on HGV and commercial drivers operating on major arterial routes during the campaign.
Among those stopped was a driver who was pulling a trailer that had a car precariously perched on top of scrap metal and not secured in place.
Other drivers included an HGV that was carrying hundreds of cans of pop on wooden pallets that had not been secured and a driver who was pulling a trailer stuffed with chopped trees.
Police have now condemned the drivers and said that if the cargo had fallen into the road then the consequences could have been devastating.
Sergeant Jane Munro said: “There is a blatant disregard for the safety of others when drivers choose to travel without sufficient measures in place to ensure their vehicle’s loads are contained.
“Many of the van and HGV drivers we stopped during the operation were fully compliant with the rules and regulations and they went off on their way.
“However, it only takes one to have not checked the goods they are transporting are securely fastened which can cause injury or death on the roads.
“If that car, those trees or even those pallets of pop were to fall out the back of a vehicle as it travelled at speed on a motorway then the consequences could be devastating.
“That is why this type of police work will continue 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year so we can continue to ensure the safety of those using roads across the North East.
“Our message is clear, take the time to check you know the rules, regulations and that your vehicle is in roadworthy condition.
"It takes a little extra time before you set off on your journey but could save a life.”
Over the course of the operation 107 cars were stopped, 22 drivers reported for offences, 34 prohibition notices issued, 14 fixed penalty notices issued, nine warning letters sent to commercial vehicle operators, two vehicles seized with no insurance and three drivers arrested for drug driving.
The drivers of the three vehicles already referenced were issued with prohibition notices.
A driver who is issued with a prohibition notice is unable to continue with their journey until any identified issues, such as unsafe loading or problems with the condition of the vehicle, is rectified.
Seven drivers were also caught on their mobile phones whilst behind the wheel over the course of three days when officers used the Highways England Op Tramline undercover HGV.