Professional drivers of commercial vehicles need to consider the potential risk they pose to the public when knowingly travelling on public highways in the UK whilst overloaded.
VOSA and the UK police force are ramping up their surveillance of vehicles throughout the country to try and clamp down on overloaded vehicles.
How do we know this? Weightru Ltd has been working closely with a number of UK police forces and supplied them with new up to date vehicle weigh pads to enable them to carry out spot checks on two axle vehicles, with a focus on checking axle overloading on 3.5t and 7.5t vehicles.
With modern technology for weighing axles on vehicles the excuse has been removed that operators are in the dark over the loads, not that this ever worked, the Police and VOSAs stance on overloaded axles is clear.
For fleet operators the chances of having vehicles pulled over have increased and with the change to the penalty system the costs can be tremendous plus the realistic chance of losing your O-Licence.
Table of fines:
|Severity||Endorsable||Fixed penalty amount|
|Less than 10%||No||£100|
|10% up to but not including 15%||No||£200|
|15% and over||No||£300|
This is taken from the Gov UK site for DVSA Roadside Checking
A £100 penalty will be given for a 0% to 9.99% overload, but DVSA examiners will allow a 5% leeway before issuing a fixed penalty or prohibition, unless the relevant weight has been exceeded by 1 tonne or more.
Normally, a fixed penalty would be inappropriate for serious cases of overloading – for example when the vehicle is overloaded by 30% and over, or the excess weight is 5 tonnes – so a court summons would be issued instead.
If the excess weight and the way the load is carried is having a significant effect on road safety – for example, serious instability or loss of control, these other offences will mean a court summons, with the excess weight being part of the offence/s.
If your vehicle is pulled over and you are found to be overweight you will also not allowed to continue with your journey to stop an overweight vehicle being used on the road and preserve road safety.
In general the issuing of a fixed notice penalty is the preferred route however this can escalate if the offence is too serious or the number of offences penalty notices would be exceeded.
The costs don’t always stop with a fixed penalty, the owner of the commercial vehicle could be prosecuted for permitting or allowing the offence, the penalties on a conviction are very likely to me thousands of pounds for each overloaded axle, and for a gross overload condition as well.
Further areas to consider are the Operator Compliance Risk Score which means that companies vehicles are more likely to be stopped in the future and affect the Earned Recognition status for the business.
Preventative Vehicle Weighing Systems
For businesses such as supermarket chains and distribution centres that operate from multiple sites with lots of vehicles we recommend fixed installation systems such as our dynamic axle weighbridge. Using ANPR technology this system can help prevent all vehicles leaving site that are over their axle or gross limits.
Smaller businesses that operate from one site and with a fleet of less than 10 vehicles a set of high quality weigh pads is generally enough to do your spot checks of vehicles prior to them entering the public highway.
We have a number of options for businesses who are considering protecting their fleets from overloading, please call or email to discuss the right vehicle weighing solution.