How to tame principles of Newton

with assistance of German road police

 

Late evening on February 01st our airplane of the airline GERMAN WINGS landed in Hamburg. Next day was expected to be free, so it gave us a chance to implement my old dream to take participation in the control of cargo securing on vehicles being carried out by German road police.2 members of our society Ladungssicherungkreis e.V. work in Hamburg, I have got acquaintance with one of them a police commissar Claus Orth aduring a previous meeting of the society.  Claus Orth works at the road police station VD 4 Verkehrsstaffel Sud of Hamburg. Undoubtedly implementation of our offer required enormous efforts, nevertheless preparation was made successfully, permission of the top-management was obtained and we waited impatiently for forthcoming developments.

Management of the police department decided to perform training of the personnel. 3 police cars with crews were provided for the training, in total 10 officers took participation in the training. Only one condition was to be fulfilled, according to terms of police insurance carriage of civilians (except criminals, of course) in police car was forbidden, therefore we had to use our own car. Can you imagine you arrive late in the evening and next morning at 06.00 a.m. drive a rented car to unknown place in Hamburg. Claus offered us to stay at his house and use his car. We accepted his proposal with pleasure, as we had possibility to become familiar with both work and family life of German policemen.

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The house of our friend is located at the distance of 50km from the police station. There are two shifts in the work of policemen: from 06.00 till 13.00 and from 12.00 till 19.00. On February 02d, 2007 we woke at 04.45 and at 06.00 we already attended morning meeting in the police station. At 07.00 a.m. escorted by police cars we arrived to the place of control.

Inspection was performed in following manner: police officers choose place of technical control at the parking Stillhorn located on the highway (BAB)No.1. Usually there were a lot of vehicles from the East-European countries, but not in that time. Policemen put safety cones in order to preserve their own security and direct inspected vehicle. A motorcyclist was sent to catch trucks. He was empowered to choose following conveyances:

1) Curtainsider – a conveyance the most convenient for performance of loading operations but required the great efforts to secure cargoes:

2) vehicle from the EU

3) vehicle from any of the East-European country.

Due to the reason that we intended to take photos requiring daylights the policemen started control of German vehicles.

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Claus Orth told us about equipment of the car for technical control. The equipment is worthy of respect. Everything could be found there even compact scales for weighing of axle load and a device reading data from the electronic tachograph from the “black box” if the main detector is broken.

I would like to draw your attention to the change of color of German road police. New color will be blue, during the transit period both colors green and blue are used, that is why police cars and policemen uniform of different colors could be seen on photos.

During the technical inspection of vehicle following points could be checked:

1) Braking system;

2)  Exhaust system;

3)  Steering;

4)  Lighting system;

5)  Tires;

6)  Suspension system;

7)  Chassis;

8)  Tachograph readouts;

9)  Axle load;

10) Cargo securing.

Policemen posses all technical means necessary for such kind of inspection. As we understood the last 2 points required of special procedure and issue of relevant protocols.

At about 08.00 the motorcyclist escorted the first vehicle consisted of Estonian truck and Finnish trailer-curtainsider loaded with cargo of paper in rolls and moved from Finland to France.

Even at first sight it was clear that cargo was secured inadequate:

Some of rolls were not secured at all;

-          Lashings were tightened poorly;

-          Some of lashings were slipped out due to the insignificant shift of rolls from the initial place or due to some other reason;

 

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Friction coefficient and tension of lashing were measured, technical condition of lashings, marking according to Standard EN DIN 12195-2 were checked during inspection.

As proof of the police conclusion photos were taken and following documents were issued:

1)      Cargo securing calculation

2)      Protocol on technical violation.

Further driving was forbidden until source of danger had been removed. The driver was instructed to lash free belts and re-set weak ones. 6 extra belts were requested to be lashed.

I had a chance to have a talk with Estonian driver. He did not participate in loading and securing of cargo, he took the loaded trailer from a ferry in Travemunde. But he was not outraged with actions of police; he had already experienced similar inspection earlier. Replacement and reset of lashings took 3 hours, one hour was spent for search of extra lashings, and he found 2 at 50 EUR each in the closest shop at the parking. We do not know where he found another 4.

Police officers considered that driver had possibility to check condition of cargo while accepting trailer for transportation. The driver was pleaded guilty in dangerous driving. He was fined with 75 EUR and 3 penalty points; moreover he had to pay 25 EUR of the administrative expenses.

 

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The next vehicle was Belgian with the cargo of used sleepers in packages. At first sight everything was in order. 14 lashings were placed on cargo with proper strength.

Police officers measured friction coefficient, inspected lashings and their tension. Friction coefficient appeared to be rather high, most probably due to the sand and mud in steep of sleepers. Calculations of cargo securing showed that securing did not comply with requirements of the Standard.

A Belgian driver in contrast to Estonian had sufficient technical knowledge and bravely entered into negotiations with police. Especially I “liked” his affirmation that similar worn-out belts are permitted to use in Belgium. The driver checked all readouts of devices and calculation of the policemen and finally he agreed with all results. Within inspection technical training with the driver was performed, he was informed about appliance of spring lashing. As a result the Belgian driver was fined with 50 EUR, 1 penalty point and 20 EUR for the administrative expenses. The driver had spare lashings and his delay was accounted for an hour. I would like to stress one more time that cargo condition, securing of the cargo as well as knowledge of the driver are worthy of my respect. Cargo of similar type entailed rapid wear and tear of lashings, but police officers noticed that lashings in such conditions could not be used as main ones only as auxiliary according to Standard EN DIN 12195-2.

The last inspected vehicle was a “Serbian miracle”. It was a standard canopy trailer with palletized cargo. The truck stood still at the mentioned place. Glancing at the driver and police officers I understood that everybody knew what would happen further.

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Pressure measurements showed absence of it in the braking system of the trailer. Technical condition of sideboards was inadequate, hinges were rusted, and securing bolts were not screwed. It was without saying that the trailer was out of the Technical standards. While calculating cargo securing resistance of the mentioned sideboards is not taken into consideration and trailer should be considered as opened platform without sideboards. The view of pallets said that they themselves were puzzled how they could manage not fell down. No any securing was found out in the trailer.

Calculation of cargo securing in the concerned vehicle was not performed due to the fact that driving of the vehicle was forbidden in Germany. Escorted by police car the vehicle was delivered to the technical station. The driver was fined with 200EUR for all violations. Repair of the vehicle could be carried out at the technical station but taking into consideration extremely high value of the repair in Germany the owner would be allowed to evacuate the trailer to Serbia.

Outcomes of the inspection could be expressed as:

1)      All chosen at random vehicles had different violations of cargo securing. The Belgian vehicle had the least violation, the finish vehicle had some likeness of the securing, and the Serbian had no any securing at all.

2)      All drivers understood from their experience that their cargo was secured improperly. Knowledge of the Belgian driver deserved of respect in spite of some negligence, the Estonian driver understood all calculations and requirements of policemen because he experienced such inspection the second time. We failed to check knowledge of the Serbian driver, but they were obvious without any saying.

3)      So far check of cargo securing is not obligatory during performance of technical control. Knowledge and training of the road police deserve a profound respect though according to Claus Orth only 2 of 10 attended inspection policemen have special training in cargo securing. Claus informed that he conducted training of colleagues and soon 8 officers would pass relevant exams.

4)      Claus Orth informed us that every day he checks in average 8 vehicles and as a rule 3 of them have problems. The vehicles from Eastern Europe are of the utmost concern.

5)      German police fine not only drivers but also German Shippers. Relevant resolutions addressed to the responsible for securing persons of Shipper are issued. They are punished with fine and penalty points. As I understood gaining 18 penalty points a person should repeat exams for driving license. This is so called “violation without driving”.

Now let’s talk about responsibility of drivers, trucks owners and Shippers. The material is taken from the report of police commissar of Oldenburg Alfred Lampen made on the conference on cargo securing being held on in Stockholm.

Different situations with two outcomes were examined:

А) Securing faults revealed during technical inspection;

Б) Improper securing caused somebody’s injury or death, or danger to the environment (Criminal responsibility).

1) First situation «Driver attended the loading of the vehicle in Germany »:

а) Securing faults revealed during technical inspection:

- Driver – fine 50-100 EUR, 1-3 penalty points;

- Owner of a vehicle – fine 150-175 EUR, 3 penalty points;

- German Shipper - fine 150-175 EUR, 3 penalty points.

б) Somebody’s injury or death entailed by road accident:

- Driver – considerable fine or imprisonment;

- Owner of vehicle – considerable fine or imprisonment;

- German Shipper – considerable fine or imprisonment.

REGARDLESS OF NATIONALITY OF DRIVER AND OWNER OF VEHICLE

2) The second situation «Trailer or container were loaded in Germany, but driver took them in closed and sealed condition”. At that only seals of Shipper or Customs House stated in transport documents are taken into consideration.

а) Securing faults revealed during technical inspection

- Driver – he is fined only if improper securing was evident (for example deformation of tent, etc.);

- Owner of vehicle - fine 150-175 EUR, 3 penalty points in case of proof of responsibility;

- German Shipper - fine 150-175 EUR, 3 penalty points.

DRIVER SHOULD PROOVE THAT HE DID NOT ATTEN LOADING

б) Somebody’s injury or death entailed by road accident:

- Driver – criminal penalty in case of guilt;

- Owner of vehicle – criminal penalty in case of guilt;

- German Shipper – considerable fine or imprisonment

3) The third situation «Driver took a trailer or a container in one of the German ports. The trailer or container were loaded and sealed in the place outside Germany»:

а) Securing faults revealed during technical inspection:

- Driver - he is fined only if improper securing was evident (for example deformation of tent, etc.)-

- Owner of vehicle - fine in case of proof of responsibility

- Foreign Shipper – no fine.

б) Somebody’s injury or death entailed by road accident:

- Driver – criminal penalty in case of guilt;

- Owner of vehicle – criminal penalty in case of guilt;

- German Shipper – considerable fine or imprisonment

In conclusion I would like to demonstrate examples of loading which I observed in one of the Russian cities in 2000 km east to Moscow only in 7 days after inspection in Hamburg. Loading was being performed at a warehouse within some hours. I do not know your impressions but these vehicles spread smell of death.

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Containers weighting 3-5t were transported in snowing trailers along crowded streets. Palletized units of load more than 2 m in height were secured in unknown manner. Machinery weighting about 10t was secured only with 5 lashings of unknown origin.

On March 15 last year fallen out transformer killed 7 and injured 44 persons in Ryazan (Russia).

The author expressed the sincere gratitude to the stuff of the road police department VD 4 Verkehrsstaffel Sud and personally to Claus Orth for assistance in implementation of the joint inspection in Hamburg.

 

How to tame principles of Newton