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HGV driver training provided at our facilities includes instruction relating to the legal requirements of professionals. For example, drivers are technically responsible for everything they carry in their trailers regardless of what it is. They are required to take every reasonable step to make sure that they are not transporting any illegal goods or passengers. This presents somewhat of a conundrum for drivers who pick up dry goods trailers that are already packed and sealed before they arrive.

Drivers rely on shippers to provide truthful reports detailing all inventory loaded onto a trailer. Opening a trailer and inspecting every unit is both impractical and almost impossible in an industry that relies on exact timing for maximum efficiency. The good news is that shippers are reliable 99.9% of the time. But what happens in that small minority of cases in which shipping reports are fraudulent? Worse yet, what happens when drivers are unknowingly transporting illegal goods?

A new report from HGV UK addresses that very question in relation to the illegal smuggling of animal parts. It is not a big problem here, but it exists nonetheless. United for Wildlife, an initiative started by Prince Harry and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge is now working with the logistics industry to find ways to bring an end to the activity. Should they succeed in keeping the illegal animal parts trade at bay here in the UK, perhaps the strategies they come up with could be adopted to combat other illegal transport.

The unfortunate truth is that criminal enterprises have developed some very creative ways to ship illegal cargo disguised as legitimate goods. Drivers, regardless of how thorough or comprehensive their HGV training is, are virtually powerless to stop illegal cargo transport unless they have direct knowledge of fraud or criminal activity. And the likelihood of having that knowledge is slim to none. Therefore, other strategies need to be developed.

Know Your Legal Responsibilities

As an HGV driver working in the UK, it is up to you to know and understand your legal responsibilities where the transport of illegal goods and passengers is concerned. As previously mentioned, you are ultimately responsible for everything you transport. It is imperative that you make every reasonable effort to ensure all of the cargo you transport is completely legal.

In the event you are found transporting anything illegally, authorities will investigate to determine your level of responsibility. If they find you took every reasonable step as required by law, you will face no further action. Please consult with your fleet manager or a lawyer if you do not know what constitutes reasonable effort.

At the HGV Training Centre, we do our best to provide the kind of comprehensive HGV driver training that addresses these types of issues. We would be happy to design a customised training course for your drivers that covers all of their legal responsibilities as professionals. Remember that we are a certified provider of Driver CPC training as well.


  1. HGV UK – http://www.hgvuk.com/do-you-know-what-your-vehicles-are-carrying/


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