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Urgent advice to motorists charging EVs on the street

Electric car drivers are being warned of the risks associated with running a charging cable across a footpath – including potential fines or even legal action.

Experts from The Workplace Depot, a leading provider of health and safety equipment, have offered their advice on how to charge EVs safely and avoid accidents.

(Image credit: Pexels)

Many EV drivers who don’t own a private driveway have found themselves in a situation where they have to run charging cables across footpaths if they want to charge their vehicle at home.

This, however, can create serious risks as it poses a potential hazard for pedestrians who may trip over the wires and injure themselves, resulting in financially crippling legal action.

Although it’s not illegal to run an EV cable across a pavement, if it causes injuries to a pedestrian then the owner can be found liable and may be prosecuted.

Therefore, it’s crucial to ensure nobody gets hurt, which is why drivers should be present during the charging process and the wires should always be removed when not in use.

Motorists are also recommended to use cable protectors for enhanced safety. Their bright colours make them more visible to pedestrians and their sloped design significantly reduces the risk of trips and falls.

Besides posing a trip hazard, the cables can also lead to fires if daisy-chained together and pose an electrocution risk if left outside in the rain.

In certain areas, drivers may also need to obtain permission from the local council to run cables across a public path.

The Highway Act also gives local councils the power to remove any cables on the pavement they think could be dangerous.

A spokesperson from The Workplace Depot said: “There’s a bit of a legal grey area when it comes to EV drivers running cables across the pavement to charge their cars at home.

“But one thing is for sure – exposed cables can pose significant tripping hazards for pedestrians, especially for older people, children, individuals using prams or wheelchairs, and those who are distracted.

“These cables may also become damaged due to foot traffic or can be left outside during rain, leading to electrical hazards. Additionally, daisy-chaining extension leads from the house to your vehicle can pose a serious fire risk.

“Due to the potential dangers, motorists in some areas are required to obtain permission from the council before charging their vehicles on the street, so it’s crucial to check local regulations beforehand to ensure compliance and safety.

“Even with permission, you should prioritise pedestrian safety by using cable covers and only have the wires out during the charging period.

“Cable protectors help make the wires more visible and make it easier for pedestrians to step over them safely.”

Here are The Workplace Depot’s tips on charging electric vehicles on the street:

Check if you need permission

Some local councils prohibit any cables from being placed across public highways, while others require you to apply for permission, which is granted based on need and suitability on a case-by-case basis. It’s crucial to check with your local council to ensure you comply with all regulations.

Use a cable protector

If you receive permission, you are responsible for ensuring the charging process is as safe as possible. Using a cable protector can help prevent accidents and injuries by making the cable more noticeable and easier to step over safely.

Remove the cable when not in use

If your vehicle has reached enough charge, make sure to remove the cable from the pavement immediately. There’s no reason for the cable to obstruct the street if it’s not in use.

Don’t daisy-chain the extension leads

You should never daisy-chain extension leads together in order to reach the car from the socket inside the house. Connecting multiple extension leads can cause them to overheat or exceed their capacity, potentially leading to fires or electrical hazards. You should only ever use extension leads that are suitable for outdoor use.

Check for wear and tear

You should regularly inspect your EV charging cable for signs of wear and tear, including fraying or cracks. Replace any damaged cables promptly, as quality cables not only enhance safety but also optimise charging performance.

With over 30 years of experience in the industry, The Workplace Depot is part of one of the UK’s largest Industrial and Commerce companies.

Headquartered in Nottingham, The Workplace Depot is ideally positioned to provide a range of health, safety and workplace equipment to companies around the UK, from trucks, trolleys and lockers to office furniture, safety steps and racking.