Advice about keeping your fleet safe from fireworks

Sadly many business vehicle owners end up remembering the 5th November for all the wrong reasons.

That’s because firework night is a time of dangers, accidents and damage to business vehicles across the UK.

Youngsters were filmed firing rockets and throwing fireworks at cars last November and bonfire smoke was deemed to have been a factor in causing a major 34-vehicle pile-up on the M5 in which seven died.

Even at well-behaved displays, fireworks can fall onto vehicles causing damage, setting off alarms and starting fires. Similarly, bonfire sparks can blow across vehicles.

It's not just the 5th of November though. Many firework displays around the country are spread out over the days before and after the 5th and continue again around the 25th December and New Year. This means that businesses need to take precautions against fireworks for their fleet multiple times a year.

In the US, the dangers are taken very seriously. Around 400 vehicle fires a year are linked to fireworks. In the UK it sometimes appears organisers have a more relaxed attitude for fear of being branded kill-joys. But the dangers to drivers and vehicles are very real.

The main advice to vehicle owners is to park well away from fireworks. Government figures suggest you need to allow at least 150m as a ‘fall zone’ for fireworks. Park well outside that to be sure. If possible, park up-wind from any display and bonfires. 

Avoid driving close to big displays. Not only will there be the dangers of falling fireworks, bonfire smoke and sparks, but wayward and excited children are liable to run across roads and unsupervised mischievous teenagers may throw fireworks. This advice could be extended to many residential areas too.

Beware also that November 5th sees a peak in break-ins to cars and vandalism. Many opportunist thieves are on the streets and use the cover of dark and frequent noises to mask their crimes.

But equally be prepared to defend your business vehicles. If a display is planned close to your depot, make an objection. If you see dangerous behaviour, call the police.

The laws are, in fact, very strict:

  • It is an offence to throw or fire a firework in or into any highway, street or public place.
  • It is also an offence to discharge any firework within 50 feet of the centre of a highway.
  • It is an offence to make a bonfire or discharge a firework in a street to the obstruction, annoyance or danger of residents or passersby.

Breaking the law can result in a maximum penalty of £5000 and/or a prison sentence.

* If you find used fireworks around your vehicle use tongs or some other suitable tool, and wear strong gloves to pick it up. If any fireworks look as if they haven’t gone off, soak them in a bucket of water and ask the Fire Service for advice.