It commissioned the Transport Research Laboratory to conduct research into just what happens if a light commercial’s cargo breaks loose in a smash. While the DfT’s code of practice on load retention is based on a deceleration force of 1G, the research shows that a serious accident can generate more than 20 times that level.

“DfT and Commission guidance is largely inadequate as it fails to account for the stresses experienced in a typical collision,” contends FTA policy director, James Hookham, “In fact court cases have shown that it can no longer be relied upon as a benchmarking device.”

These concerns have prompted the FTA to produce a best-practice guide for transport managers on the safe securing of loads and equipment in vans. “While the frequency of injuries caused by loads in accidents is comparatively low, the consequences of such injuries are of the gravest concern,” Hookham says.