Keltruck representatives attended the ‘Trial by Jury’ mock trial at Derby University on 22nd June 2010.

The objective of the exercise was threefold, firstly to re-launch the Mercia Centre of the IRTE (Institute of Road Transport Engineers) and secondly to give the LHV (Long Heavy Vehicle) concept vehicle another airing and finally to promote the wonderful services and facilities on offer from Derby University (pictured).

The proposer for each subject was be interrogated by two mock barristers calling on witnesses for and against the motion including fleet operators and suppliers and was adjudicated by Judge Mr Brian Weatherley before being considered by a mock jury.

The agenda for the day was as follows:

Corporate Manslaughter and Wheel & Load Security
Prosecuting Mr Michael Ponsonby.  Defending Mr Andrew Woolfall

A Case for Longer and Heavier Commercial Vehicles
Lead Dick Denby and Stan Robinson Represented by Mr Andrew Woolfall.  Opposing Mr Michael

Meaningful Methods of Measuring Fuel Consumption
Lead: Mr Steve Davis TNT   and Mr Martin Parrack BTAC
Supporting Mr Michael Ponsonby.  Opposing Mr Andrew Woolfall

Challenging Fuel Saving Interventions
Lead: Dr Michael Coyle M2 Training and Mr John Eastman IRTE
Supporting Mr Andrew Woolfall.  Opposing Mr Michael Ponsonby.

The first case was a mood setter, Michael Ponsonby set the scene by firstly explaining the Corporate Manslaughter Act 2007 and describing several past cases whereby corporations negligence had caused fatalities giving examples such as the 1987 Zeebrugger Ferry Disaster, the 2000 Hatfield Rail Crash, the Buncefield Oil Terminal fire just to name a few.

The Judge, Brian Weatherley entered the court and the first case was underway with Geoff Mumford, MD of firm Burton Bridge Brewery, who ended up in the dock for a fictitious wheel load and security case whereby a trailer wheel came free from the vehicle and killed a person.   All of Geoff Mumford’s answers were actual.  An expert witness, Paul Turner from Bridgstone Tyres was called in advising the court of the recommended practise of British Standard AU150 code of practice to be used to ensure wheel security.

Geoff Mumford was eventually found guilty for not having the correct written procedures and practises to ensure wheel security was in place.  The fine…..7-10% of annual turnover including further costs to the family of the unfortunate person who lost their life.

The case highlighted the real need to have working procedures in place backed up by evidence that they are being adhered to with constant ongoing observation and training. The next case saw Dick Denby and Stan Robinson in the dock discussing their case for their impressive 25.25M Longer and Heavier Commercial Vehicles (LHV’s) which are used in Major European countries but are not legal in the UK.  The case for was presented very well showing how the vehicles were as efficient in braking as they were in fuel economy and using less space on the UK’s busy roads.

Dick Denby’s Eco Link Vehicle meets the European inner and outer turning regulations which does not restrict the vehicle to designated routes unlike Stan Robinsons which makes his model more fitting for hub to hub transportation.  Both Stan and Dick took on board some serious questions such as turning circles on double articulated vehicles and even the effect on cyclists, but they certainly put up a fight and were fully armed with their own homework the court ended up undecided on the concept with a ‘Perhaps’ verdict.

Dick Denby had taken the time to arrange for the rigid section of his LHV, thankfully quite legal in the UK, to be parked outside the University for attendees to look at.

Pictured is Dick Denby’s Eco Link vehicle at MIRA’s proving ground being tested on a wet road surface.

Mick West (pictured) of West`s Transport contributed to the proceeding and opposed the LHV on the basis of vehicle weights which, in his opinion, will continue to go up as costs of transportation on these types of vehicles reduce thus making our roads even more congested.  Starting with a comparison on how simple it is to obtain water from a tap compared to the consumer who wants bottled spring water from the south of England delivered to Scotland.  He called for limiting consumer choice as a solution to reducing miles travelled.

The afternoon was left to Dr Michael Coyle of Modex International and John Eastman of the IRTE discussing ‘Challenging Fuel Saving Interventions’.

Several presentations were made starting with Martin Parrat of BTAC (British Transport Advisory Consortium) explaining savings made by moving the gap of the cab to the trailer and the concept of curved trailers.  Martin commented “People interested in the annual BTAC /IRTE fuel consumption evaluation event held at MIRA can contact me directly on 07909 533849.”

Further presentations were made by Terry Rose, training Manager from Denby Transport and Dr Michael Coyle discussing fuel saving methods, testing and analysis of results.

Dr Michael Coyle (Pictured) commented “I would like to invite operators to join the M2/University of Huddersfield network that we are setting up which is free to join.  The key aim is to independently evaluate interventions on behalf of operators. Contact or Tel: 01484 647118  Mob: 07890 724144”.

John East, of the Road Transport Engineers, made a great presentation on the fuels saving devices we have all seen advertised in the press over the last few years such as magnets that boast a 10% saving; Pebbles you put in your fuel tank housed inside a cage to decrease your fuel consumption whilst improving your power, additives for your fuel and even your oil that boast many improvements – nothing that has concrete evidence unfortunately….

A rather interesting demonstration was made by Derek Godden of Lasalign (Pictured) with his home made model that when pulled along with an elastic band shows the inefficiencies of having misalignment on vehicle tyres.

Brian Weatherley, of, summarised the day with ‘the need for good maintenance and good maintenance practises.’  Brian mentioned the new Scania Driver Support system as being a really good driver training  tool.

Organiser Roger Denniss of Lorry Logic (, Telephone 01283 702269) is looking to run a similar programme next year involving more support and would welcome input of further topics to put to trial.

Andrew Bentley, MInst SMM
Head of Vehicle Contracts and Marketing