Tags – Differences in Vehicle Weight Restrictions


Within the UK, the Road Vehicles Regulations legislation dictates the Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) of any goods vehicle.

To provide some context, the GVW is the maximum vehicle weight legally permitted, to include the vehicle and its load.

Whilst the weight restriction must be adhered to, various factors determine the weight allowance for different vehicles. For example, different factors apply depending on the number of axles a vehicle has. 



Fleet operators must ensure that they source the appropriate vehicles for the specific loads they are intended to carry.

Furthermore, fleet operators also need to put processes into place to ensure their drivers do not overload their vehicles.

In terms of the responsibilities of the driver, whether or not drivers are employees, they must know the maximum permitted weight of their vehicle.

Equally, drivers need to distribute the load evenly in order that no excessive weight is placed on any individual axle. For example, even after an initial drop has been made, it’s crucial to check the spread of the remaining load.

Here, axle overload issues are as important to watch out for as general vehicle overload. As such, these would be considered individual offences if both were found overweight.



Many companies running fleets such as in the logistics industry have their own weighing systems called weighbridges.

However, there are different sorts of truck scales (as they are known in the US) such as portable options and it is also possible to hire them.

Additionally, there are public weighbridges available for use too, details of which can be found on the government’s website.


Range of Vehicles

As you can imagine, logistics companies use different vehicles for different purposes.

For instance, the Royal Mail has more than 40,000 vehicles in their fleet. Whilst the familiar Peugeot Bipper van is used for nipping around smaller postal routes, the Royal Mail also runs larger multi-axle lorries too. As expected, the difference in the maximum restricted weight for these options is wide ranging.

Although the smaller van is considered a 2 axle, light goods vehicle, some of the larger trucks can have 3 or 4 axles. So, the difference in maximum weights can be anything from 3.5 tonnes to in excess of 25.



A manufacturer’s plate or a Department for Transport plate gives the required information on individual maximum weights.

These plates are securely fixed in a prominent position, usually in the cab.

Although they may differ, it is the Department for Transport plate which must be observed at all times.

Also known as the Ministry Plate, this plate supersedes any other detail and is always the definitive legal limit of a lorry.


To learn more, get in touch with us today.

And, learn more about our vehicle weighing solutions here.