HGV Side Guards

Construction and Use Regulations 1986 also refers to rear and side protection for LGV and HGV Goods vehicles under Regulations 49 and 51. Regarding the maintenance of sideguards, ERegulation 52 states that a side guard must:

  • be maintained free from any obvious defect which would be likely to affect adversely its effectiveness

Please find below information relating to vehicle Side Guards including some graphic information; 

  • Required fitment of side guards 
  • Exemptions to the Regulations 
  • Dimensions of side guards

Required fitment 

Sideguards must be fitted to the following vehicles:

  1. In the case of an articulated vehicle with plated train weight of more than 32,520 kgs, to the semi-trailer if its plated gross weight exceeds 26,000 kgs, it was manufactured before 1 May 1983 and the distance between the foremost axle and the centre of the kingpin (the rearmost kingpin if there is more than one) exceeds 4.5 metre
  2. A motor vehicle exceeding 3,500 kgs maximum gross weight first used on or after 1 April 1984
  3. A trailer (including a semi-trailer) with an unladen weight exceeding 1,020 kgs, manufactured on or after 1 May 1983 

In the case of a motor vehicle covered by 2, or a drawbar trailer covered by 3, the requirement only applies if the distance between any two axles exceeds 3 metres. In the case of a semi-trailer covered by 3, the requirement only applies where the distance from the foremost axle to the centre of the kingpin (as defined in 1) exceeds 4.5 metres. Semi-trailers with driven wheels must be fitted with side guards. 

Semi-trailers with driven wheels must be fitted with side guards

Exempt from Fitment 

The following vehicles are exempt from having side guards fitted:

  • A motor vehicle incapable because of its construction of exceeding 15 mph on the level under its own power when fully laden
  • Engineering plant
  • A fire engine
  • An agricultural motor vehicle or agricultural trailer/trailed appliance
  • A vehicle so constructed that it can be unloaded by the part being tipped sideways or rearwards
  • A vehicle owned by the Secretary of State for Defence and used for naval, military or air force purposes
  • A chassis without the bodywork that is being driven or towed: 
    • For a quality or safety check by its manufacturer, dealer or distributor
    • By previous arrangement to premises where bodywork is to be fitted or preparatory work is done or to premises of a dealer or distributor
  • A vehicle being driven or towed to a place whereby previous arrangement a side guard is to be fitted so that it complies with this regulation
  • A vehicle designed solely for the use and used solely in connection with street cleansing, collection or disposal of refuse or collection or disposal of the contents of gullies or cesspools
  • A trailer designed and constructed, and not merely adapted, to carry around timber, beams or girders of exceptional length
  • A motor car or heavy motor car constructed or adapted to form part of an articulated vehicle; 
  • A vehicle designed and constructed, and not merely adapted, to carry other vehicles loaded onto it from the front or rear
  • A trailer with a load platform:
    • No part of any edge of which is more than 60mm inboard from the plane described in paragraph 3a of the side guards specification below 
    • The upper surface of which is not more than 750mm from the ground over whichever distance specified in paragraphs 4 to 7 of the side guard specification below would be applicable if this exemption did not apply 
  • A temporarily imported foreign trailer 


The outermost surface of every side guard shall be smooth, essentially rigid and either flat or horizontally corrugated, save that: 

  • any part of the surface may overlap another provided that the overlapping edges face rearwards or downwards.  
  • a gap not exceeding 25mm measured longitudinally may exist between any two adjacent parts of the surface provided that the foremost edge of the rearward part does not protrude outboard of the rearmost edge of the forward part 
  • domed heads of bolts or rivets may protrude beyond the surface to a distance not exceeding 10mm. 


The diagram below shows a trailer with side guards attached, the dimensions specific to the construction and fitment of the side guards represented by the letters on the diagram can be found on the list below. 

Trailer with side guards attached, showing dimensions of construction and fitment

  • A - 350mm (maximum) from the underside of the vehicle bed to the top of the side guard. 
  • B - 300mm (maximum) between the bottoms of the top rail to the top of the lower rail. 
  • C - 550mm (maximum) from the underside of the lower part of the side guard to the ground. 
  • D - 100mm (maximum) being the width of the side guard construction. 
  • E - 250mm (maximum) from the front of the side guard to the centre point of the landing legs. 
  • F - 300mm (maximum) from the endpoint of the side guard to the leading edge of the foremost tyre. 

Important Side Guard Data 

The top of the side guard must be a minimum of 1.5 metres from the ground. However, in the case of concrete mixers where this dimension is not achievable, the distance is 1 metre. 

It should also be noted, that from the forward edge of the side guard (nearest point to the landing legs), the distance to the kingpin should be a maximum distance of 3 metres. 

It is also important to note, that the regulations say it is only necessary to satisfy the specification 'so far as is practicable' in the case of:

  • A bulk liquid, powder or gas tanker, where the tank is permanently fitted to the vehicle and is provided with valves and hose or pipe connection for loading and unloading; and 
  • A vehicle fitted on one or both sides with outriggers to provide the additional stability required during loading, unloading, or in use for operations for which it is designed. 

The following link provides guidance and further information

Individual Vehicle Approval (IVA) – Vehicle side guards