‘Lights out’ for tractor and trailer with unsecure bales

Gardai recently stopped a tractor and trailer for drawing an unsecure load in Co. Westmeath.

Upon closer inspection, it was also found that the trailer lights were not connected to the tractor when stopped near Mullingar.

As shown on the An Garda Siochana Twitter page, the account warned road users to take that little bit longer to ensure road safety when drawing large loads such as bales.

The Garda account noted – complete with bad joke – that: “Bales unsecured and trailer lights not connected in Mullingar. No matter how short the distance…

“May’hay’be take the few extra seconds to make sure it’s safe for public roads.”

While done in a lighthearted manner, the message is nonetheless valid.

Travelling with an unsecured load poses a number of risks for both the driver of the vehicle and other road users, according to the Road Safety Authority of Ireland (RSA).

Unsecured or inadequately secured loads can shift when a vehicle is in motion and may cause:
  • Loss of control of vehicle;
  • Objects to fall on or hit people;
  • Road obstruction or collision where a driver is required to swerve to avoid fallen items;
  • Failure to secure loads properly may also result in financial losses due to damaged goods and vehicles, lost working time, clean-up costs and legal costs.

The RSA insists that all loads must be secured, even if the vehicle is only travelling a short distance or at low speeds.

It added that a load shall not be carried on a vehicle on a public road in such a manner that part of the load is liable to fall on the road.

Meanwhile, a load must not drag on the surface of the road, so as to cause damage to the road or to be liable to cause danger, the RSA also warned.

Operators or drivers are advised to employ a load restraint method suitable to the load being carried.

Load security is not just the sole responsibility of the vehicle driver. Employers, vehicle owners, drivers, as well as loading and unloading staff, all have a role to play in ensuring loads are secure, the RSA said.