Drivers ‘putting lives at risk’ after trees, fizzy pop and a car found precariously balanced during road operation


Officers have been running an operation alongside Highways England to target drivers who have not properly secured their cargo

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 our roads.

Northumbria Police have condemned a handful of drivers after they were pulled over on roads across the North East during a two week campaign that concluded 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. This was following 968 incidents reported of debris on the road from April 2020 to April 2021.

It saw specialist police officers from the Motor Patrols Department actively engage with HGV and commercial drivers operating on major arterial routes.

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.

Today (Sunday) police have 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 vehicles 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 road worthy condition. It takes a little extra time before you set off on your journey but could save a life.”

Northumbria Police have also revealed that during the spot checks on vehicles, they also checked for defects including issues with tyre treads, brakes, fluids and lights.

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.

The teams also had use of the Highways England Op Tramline undercover HGV during the operation for three days where seven drivers were caught on their mobile phones whilst behind the wheel.

If you would like to report a driving offence you can submit dashcam footage through our website.