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Commercial Vehicles Continue to Fail Weight Compliance Checks

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FOLLOWING a rise in commercial vehicles failing legal weight checks, Chichester-based Solent Scales is urging businesses to know their legal weight limits and have systems in place to regularly assess vehicle weights and prevent complacency.

Solent Scales Company Director, Paul Moody comments: “This is a serious legal and safety issue; many businesses that operate commercial vehicles are not regularly checking their weight restrictions and are unnecessarily incurring hefty fines.”

Both the police and the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) have the power to carry out spot-checks on commercial vehicles, such as vans, lorries, buses and coaches being driven on UK roads.

If a vehicle is found to be above the maximum permitted vehicle weight, also known as the Gross Vehicle Weight, the driver will incur a fine and be prevented from travelling any further.

Paul continues: “Although an individual fine may not seem a large amount, for many commercial businesses that operate a large number of vehicles, regular fines can soon result in the business having to pay a hefty sum.”

But as well as fixed penalties, there are other more serious implications, overloading can cause considerable wear and tear to vehicles, it can also invalidate vehicle insurance and increase the likelihood of accidents on the road.

Whilst most offences are dealt with by way of a fine, in some circumstances there is also the possibility of a loss of licence, causing considerable hassle to the business.

“To avoid overloading, companies must be aware of their vehicle weight limits and always check their vehicle or axle weight before setting off,” warns Paul.

To identify a vehicle’s weight limit, businesses should refer to the vehicle’s identification plate, usually located in the cabin, under the bonnet or on the chassis. As well as containing the manufacturer or serial number and also shows details of the maximum legal axle weight and maximum acceptable gross vehicle weight (GVW).

Paul concludes: “The only way to ensure that the vehicle’s maximum permissible weights are not exceeded is to weigh it either using a weighbridge or an axle pad system, the latter has the advantage of being portable.

“But overall the message is to have some sort of system in place, not only to be compliant, but also safe on the road.”

 

The penalties if your vehicle exceeds its maximum permitted axle weight are:

Vehicle overweight by

Penalty

5% to 10%

£100

10% to 15%

£200

15% to 30%

£300

More than 30%

Court summons

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