TRL's findings will be used as the basis of a guide for operators. The research will take into account the forces imposed on a van, its load and any interior racking that may be fitted, in a collision. The project should be completed by the end of the year.

While the Department for Transport has for sometime published a safe loading code of practice, the FTA and TRL take the view that it cannot be entirely depended on.

“It is apparent that there is a lack of reliable guidance on how to safely load light commercials,” says TRL senior research engineer, Dr Mike Neale. “The best practice guide we are developing with the FTA will help to address this shortcoming.”