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Secure Loads Mean Safer Roads

9 April 2002

Truck loads are more secure than ever according to recent Land Transport Safety Authority audits – and crash numbers appear to be down as a result.

This year's audit of more than 1,100 heavy vehicles found that 95 percent met the requirements of the Truck Loading Code, equal to the record-high compliance level recorded last year, and well up from the compliance rate of 80 percent in 1997.

The audits involve roadside observations of heavy vehicles, with teams examining the loads being carried and the restraints used to secure them. The load restraints used are checked against the requirements of the code - if they fall short of the safety requirements, the load is recorded as insecure.

The improvements in load security appear to be helping to reduce crashes. In the 12 months to the end of June 2001 there were seven reported injury crashes caused by trucks with insecure loads - less than half the number reported in 1997.

The LTSA has been monitoring the security of loads on heavy vehicles since 1984, when only 32 percent of vehicles checked had their loads adequately secured. The situation improved dramatically after the Truck Loading Code was introduced in 1986, with 74 percent of loads found to be properly secured the following year.

Truck safety is set to improve further this year with new stability limits for heavy vehicles included in the Vehicle Dimensions and Mass Rule, scheduled for introduction on 1 July.

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