Leave site
Skip to content

Vehicles seized as agencies work together on road safety checks in Somerset

Almost three quarters of vehicles stopped during a multi-agency road safety operation last week were taken off the road due to dangerous defects.

On Thursday 1 February, the teams set up at Hankridge Farm retail park in Taunton and stopped 26 vehicles, of which 19 were classed as having an immediate or dangerous issue.

Operation Trader – a partnership between the Avon and Somerset Roads Policing Unit along with local authority licencing teams, Trading Standards, The Environment Agency and the DVSA – involves regular days of action where commercial and light goods vehicles are stopped to ensure they are safe and fit for purpose. There are 10 events planned for 2024 year across the Avon and Somerset Police area.

Of the vehicles stopped, a total of 26 traffic offences were identified and dealt with by police, including two arrests for drug driving and one vehicle seized after it was found to be stolen and using false plates.

Other offences and issues included:

  • One vehicle seized for having no insurance
  • One driver reported for not wearing a seatbelt
  • Six vehicles with defective lights
  • Two tyre defects
  • Eight insecure loads
  • Two overweight vehicles

Road safety and mounted officers engaged with the public in and around the Heron Gate area to provide education on recent changes to the Highway Code. Meanwhile, a speed enforcement session held on the nearby A358 during the operation also resulted in 155 vehicles being reported for speeding offences.

Acting Inspector Stephen Whatley, who led Operation Trader for the Avon and Somerset Roads Policing Unit said:

“When vehicles are not maintained or are neglected by their owners, they become a serious risk to the public. The aim of this operation is to identify those vehicles which pose a risk, engage with the owners or companies, and carry out balanced and proportionate enforcement.
“The Roads Policing Unit will continue to carry out checks and take action where necessary to help protect all road users.”

Marian Kitson, DVSA Director of Enforcement said:

“We are really pleased to have worked in partnership with Avon & Somerset Police, Trading Standards and other organisations to achieve the best safety outcomes for road users in Taunton and the 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.”

Clive Clasby, Senior Environmental Crime Officer for The Environment Agency commented: 

“The Environment Agency regularly works in partnership with other organisations including Avon and Somerset Police to carry out multi agency operations to check that the relevant rules are being followed during the transportation of waste.

“The combined use of our powers helps us ensure that robust and proportionate action is taken where it is needed. We will continue to work with partners in this way to get the best outcomes for communities and the environment.”

Other agencies, including Trading Standards, also spoke with and gave advice to nine traders with regards to consumer rights and fair-trading.

Trading Standards Intelligence Officer, Maria Endean, added:

“These operations are vital for partnership working, creating links with other enforcement agencies and developing other enforcement officers knowledge around the work of Trading Standards. This in turn leads to better intelligence sharing and enforcement.”

The Fatal Five

In 2023, 62 people were killed in collisions on the roads of Avon and Somerset. Nationally, on average, five people die every day on the road and 82 are seriously injured. *

Every fatal and serious injury collision has a devastating and far reaching impact. The majority of these collisions are preventable, and can be attributed to one or more of the ‘fatal five’ factors:

  • Drink and drug driving
  • Excess speed
  • Use of a mobile phone at the wheel
  • Failure to wear a seatbelt
  • Careless driving

Road users who commit one of the Fatal Five offences are far more likely to be involved in a fatal collision than those who do not. We are working to raise awareness of the Fatal Five and encourage behaviour change among road users to prevent these tragic incidents.

* Source: Brake Charity, 10-year average from 2013-2022.