Warwickshire Police’s Commercial Vehicle Unit is supporting the national #ReadyfortheRoad campaign by releasing a series of short video clips on social media to help commercial vehicle drivers get ready to return to the roads safely and legally as the lockdown continues to ease.

Pivotal to the #ReadyfortheRoad campaign is the launch by Driving for Better Business of a free driver app and management portal to provide a robust way for employers to safely get drivers and vehicles ‘ready for the road’ again after the COVID-19 lockdown. The app includes a detailed 20 point back to work safety checklist, training videos and a COVID-19 risk assessment template to help employers operate safely.

Insp Mick Huntley said “One of the most common problems encountered by the Commercial Vehicle Unit on Warwickshire’s roads is vehicle defects and we cannot stress enough the importance of a daily walk around check of your vehicle before you drive to spot any problems.

“It’s also really important to ensure that any load you are carrying on your vehicle is properly secured with chains and straps not only for your safety but for the safety of other road users.

“We also see issues around driver hours.  Commercial vehicle drivers need to take regular breaks and get sufficient daily rest to stay safe on our roads.”

Throughout the pandemic, the Commercial Vehicle Unit has been continuing to enforce and educate commercial vehicles owners and drivers in the county.

In May the CVU submitted the highest number of driver’s hours checks in the Midlands to Highways England as part of the ‘Drivers Hours Initiative’. Of the drivers hours checked, 6 led to prosecutions. One such vehicle, was found to have failed to pay the road levy and the driver was failing to use his tachograph.

Upon examining the vehicle, officers discovered exposed cord on one tyre and loose wheel nuts and that the load was also completely insecure. The driver was fined, prohibited, and immobilised.

The CVU has also seen a rise in non-UK HGV’s driving through the county having not paid the levy. All HGVs over a certain weight are required to pay an HGV levy or ‘charge’ for using the UK road network. During May the Commercial Vehicle Unit issued over 12 roadside deposit notices for this offence – the most they have ever issued in one calendar month.

A worrying trend that the CVU is noticing, surrounds the transportation of plant and heavy machinery by road. On each and every check the officers perform they are finding issues including loose chains or straps, unsecured items on the trailer bed, lack of appropriate marker boards, condition and use issues and issues surrounding the paperwork required to move abnormal loads.

Officers have found issues with almost every vehicle they have stopped in recent months, for example two loose wheels with broken wheel studs on a heavy haulage lorry weighing in excess of 120tons.

Inspector Huntley added “We are pleased to support this campaign to help improve the public’s safety on our roads by educating commercial vehicle drivers and hauliers on how to check their vehicles are ready for the road.  Whilst Warwickshire’s Commercial Vehicle Unit’s first choice is to educate drivers, we will also use enforcement to target those vehicles that could pose serious danger to other road users in Warwickshire.”

You can follow Warwickshire’s Commercial Vehicle Unit on twitter to see their latest vehicle stops and checks using the hashtag #CVUWarks and follow the national campaign using #ReadyfortheRoad

The social media clips can be viewed on Twitter @WarksPolice @OPUWarks or using #ReadyfortheRoad and Facebook @WarwickshirePolice and @OPUWarwickshire.

More information on the Driving for Better Business free driver app and management portal can be found here www.drivingforbetterbusiness.com/ready

Driving for Better Business is a government-backed Highways England programme to help employers in both the private and public sectors reduce work-related road risk, decrease the associated costs and improve compliance with current legislation and guidance.

The national #Readyfortheroad campaign is coordinated by NRPOI, the campaign is also supported by ARRM, DfT, Driving for Better Business, DVLA, DVSA, Highways England, MIB, MoD, NFCC, NRPOI, PACTS, Police Scotland, Road Safety Trust, TyreSafeand UKROEd.

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