Nearly half of van drivers drive overloaded vans, according to study conducted by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles in 2015. The DVSA stopped over 10,800 vans in the UK in 2014, 89% of which were overloaded. In this article we look at the dangers of overloading a commercial vehicle and what can be done to prevent it.
What are the dangers of overloading a vehicle?
Not only does overloading cost the public an estimated £50 million a year through damage to roads and associated infrastructure but it can also cost your company a lot of money. Overloading fines can range from £100 (for less than 10% over) all the way up to a court summons, and potentially the imprisonment of your driver. It is also important to remember that if your vehicle is involved in an accident and is found to be overloaded it is quite likely that your insurance will be void.
|Severity||Fixed Penalty Amount|
|Less than 10%||£100|
|10% - 14%||£200|
|15% and over||£300|
This is only the initial fixed penalty. Upon prosecution, the vehicle is measured on each overloaded axle point and the fine can increase up to £5000 per axle point.
Bearing in mind that some vehicles have 6 axle points, the fine can quickly get to around £30,000. That’s excluding any court fees, transportation costs and additional insurance premiums.
Overloading vehicles won’t just cost you money through fines but also in vehicle maintenance. When a van or HGV is overloaded the engine, tyres, brakes and suspension are under more strain than it was designed to withstand.
Does your company need axle weigh pads or a weighbridge?
Axle pads are a portable and cost-effective solution for many small businesses, especially if you have a small fleet of vans. One of the major advantages of axle pads is that they are small enough to be packed away and stored inside the vehicle, which is perfect if your vans make multiple stops, collections and deliveries through the day. Alternatively, they can be easily stored at the depot, ready for use at any time.
High specification axle pads, such as the Dini Argeo WWSK kit has a capacity of 30,000kg which is ideal for fleets of vans and small trucks. Whereas, the more modestly-priced Valueweigh Axlemate has a capacity of 2000kg - 20,000kg depending on which model you opt for.
Weighbridges are not going to be a practical solution for every company, however if your company uses large lorries, having a weighbridge installed is something that you should seriously consider.
Many people think that a weighbridge will not fit in their yard, however a ‘pit mounted’ weighbridge (where the weighbridge is sunk to the same level of the ground so no ramps are required) will typically take up a space of 15m x 3m. You can be even more space efficient by having a ‘drive on, reverse off’ weighbridge. As the name suggests, this is where the weighbridge is positioned so the driver simply drives on as usual but reverses off, this eliminates the need for having space on the exit side. If you choose not to have the weighbridge pit-mounted you will require an extra 3.5m for a ramp on the entrance side, or 7m for ramps on both sides, as well as enough room for turning.
Another myth of weighbridges that we often hear is that they are permanent structures. This is not true. In fact, we often hire weighbridges (more information on that, here) for any period of time between 6 and 24 months. This can often make the most commercial sense where a fixed-term solution is required.
Thanks to advances in technology, weighbridges are not as expensive as they once were; in fact in some circumstances they only have to flag one over-loaded vehicle to have paid for themselves. For more information on how much a weighbridge costs, read this blog. For a more bespoke and personalised quote, or to answer any of your questions, get in touch with our team here.