Insecure Load Offences and Whether to Challenge them
Since May 2009, many insecure load offences have been dealt with at the roadside under the Graduated Fixed Penalty (GFP) scheme. However, some of the more serious offences are still dealt with by a Summons and a Court hearing.
DVSA and the Police don’t always get it right – particularly with regard to insecure loads. Unless the load actually becomes loose, it’s effectively a matter of opinion as to whether it’s insecure or not. However the onus is on the prosecution to show that the load was indeed insecure in order to secure a conviction.
If you’ve received a GFP or a Court Summons and are considering whether to challenge it, please get in touch to discuss it further.
What are the penalties for having an insecure load?
Bear in mind that if the load falls off and kills someone or seriously injures them, the allegation may be more serious than just having an insecure load. We can still assist you but the maximum penalty below will not apply.
For the offence of having an insecure load itself, the maximum penalty is a £5,000 and 3 penalty points or even disqualification.
What are the chances of defending the allegation?
Until the load actually falls off your vehicle (in which case there may still be a Special Reasons argument available to you) it’s not always easy to know if it’s insecure. Whilst there is the Load securing: vehicle operator guidance to refer to, this is only a guide and does not cover every situation. The decision of how best to secure a load will usually be based on the experience of the driver and the vehicle operator. Often the police or a DVSA officer without the necessary expertise will decide a load is insecure when in fact it may not be.
Pragma Law can challenge the officer’s suggestion that a vehicle is carrying an insecure load. If we are able to raise a doubt over the insecurity of the load, the court must acquit you.
Example of a Previous Case
Solicitor Lucy Whitaker previously managed to avoid a penalty for an HGV operator whose load fell from his 44 tonne vehicle. The road was closed for hours and the police attempted to throw the book at the operator and his driver. With expert representation, the court accepted that there was no way of knowing that the load was going to fall off. The court therefore imposed no penalty on either the driver or the operator. This was a huge relief for the driver who avoided penalty points. Both the driver and the vehicle operator received an absolute discharge which is not a conviction. Consequently, the operator avoided a potential date with the Traffic Commissioner.
It just goes to show, that whatever’s happened, it’s worth taking advice before deciding whether to accept the offence or to challenge it.
For free advice about an insecure load, speak to a solicitor on our local rate number 0330 1330 081 or mobile number 07843 018747 or, if you prefer, fill out our Contact Form and we’ll call you back: usually the same day and often within the hour. You can also email us here.