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Vehicles seized as agencies work together on safety checks

A police motorbike in the foreground while checks by various agencies are carried out in the background
Operation Trader checks will be carried out throughout the force area on a regular basis.

More than four in five vehicles stopped as part of a road safety campaign were found to be in an unsafe condition or contravening motoring legislation.

Operation Trader – a partnership between Avon and Somerset Police, local authority licencing teams, Trading Standards, the DVSA, Environment Agency, HMRC, Customs and Excise and DWP – was carried out in Yate on Thursday 16 February and saw commercial and light goods vehicles checked.

In total 30 vehicles were stopped during the day of action, with issues such as defective lights, tyre issues and insecure loads highlighted.

A tyre with a chunk missing

In summary

  • One in five vehicles stopped were found to be used in a dangerous condition.
  • 26 of the 30 vehicles stopped were found by DVSA to have defects that required immediate prohibition due to the risk they posed to other road users.
  • One-third of vehicles stopped were found to be travelling with an insecure load that is likely to present danger to other road users.
  • 20 per cent of vehicles were found to be overweight.

A number of driving offences were also discovered, with five drivers not having insurance, three vehicles being driven without a valid MOT, two motorists not having a valid licence to drive the vehicle they were behind the wheel of and one tax offence.

One person was arrested after failing a drug-driving test and three people were observed not using a seatbelt.

The following actions were taken following 52 offences being recorded:

  • Arrests – 1
  • Report for summons – 5
  • Vehicle seizures – 3
  • Warnings – 3
  • Vehicle Defect Rectification Scheme – 3
  • Traffic Offence Reports – 17
  • Prohibitions (DVSA) – 26

Sergeant Steve Whatley, who led Operation Trader on behalf of the police, said: “While it is disappointing to find such a high proportion of vehicles fail to meet the necessary safety standards, it has highlighted the value of agencies working together.

“Using a poorly-maintained vehicle at the very least increases the risk of mechanical breakdown, but also worse can cause a collision which would put both the driver and innocent parties at risk.

A blue lorry carrying a BMW X5 that was too heavy for its weight restrictions
The lorry was found to be transporting a car that exceeded its maximum limit.

“One vehicle was found to be carrying 50 per cent over its weight limit, which had the potential to dramatically affect the driver’s ability to steer and brake safely.

“Road safety is incredibly important and we hope these findings are a wake-up call to those who found their vehicles were not at the required standard. Similar events are planned across Avon and Somerset’s force area throughout the year.”

DVSA Director of Enforcement, Marian Kitson said: “We are really pleased to have worked in partnership with Avon and Somerset Police, the Environment Agency and other organisations to achieve the best safety outcomes for road users in the South Gloucestershire and surrounding areas.

“DVSA’s skilled examiners are determined to educate, and in the most serious instances, take enforcement action to remove dangerous drivers and vehicles from the road.

“This operation has served to remind drivers of their responsibilities to ensure their vehicles are roadworthy, safely loaded, and their drivers are fit to drive. There is no excuse for poorly maintained vehicles on the road.”

Fifteen potential waste carriers were approached by the Environment Agency and those who were required to be registered as a waste carrier were and they were taking waste to authorised waste sites. Advice was also provided in relation to their responsibilities to correctly classify waste and complete waste transfer notes to accompany the waste.

Clive Clasby, Senior Environmental Crime Officer for the Environment Agency said: “Anyone who carries waste as part of their business must be registered with the Environment Agency.

“Companies are clearly starting to take their responsibilities seriously. It is also important to remind everyone that duty of care is not only the responsibility of the producer but also the haulier and the receiving site.”