Tags – Vehicle Overloading Penalties Explained


It’s not unusual to send industrial vehicles out at full capacity. 

However, it’s extremely important to understand your vehicle’s weight limits in order to be compliant with current legislation.

As such, vehicle overloading is a serious offence with detrimental consequences.

So, before you try to squeeze that last item in, keep in mind the authorities take overloading vehicles very seriously. 


What Are Overloading Penalties?

The Road Traffic Act 1988 states clearly it’s the duty of vehicle users to never transport an illegal weight.

And, this is a shared responsibility between the driver and operations – both can be prosecuted.

Moreover, police officers and DVSA have the power to issue fixed penalties.

In hazardous circumstances, fines can reach up to £5,000 and drivers can be charged for Dangerous Driving.


At What Weight Are Vehicles Overloaded?

Understanding the limitations of your vehicle is the first step to ensure it is not overloaded.

Of course, maximum weight limits vary between the make and model of the vehicle itself.

However, in the UK all commercial vehicles are fitted with a manufacturers plate, indicating each axle point’s maximum gross weight. 

So, it’s always a good idea to check this before loading your vehicle.

In the event that you cannot find these details, there is a formula that you can use.

First, you will need to know your vehicle’s gross weight (GVW) and kerb weight.

Then, calculate GVW minus kerb weight.

And viola!

You have your additional weight allowance.


How Much Can You Be Fined?

As aforementioned, fines can reach up to a whopping £5,000.

However, the direct government website tell us the fixed fines are:

  • 5 – 10% overloaded = £100
  • 10 – 15% overloaded = £200
  • 15 – 30% overloaded = £300

Anything over 30%, then you’ll be summoned to a court hearing, your vehicle immobilised and insurance void if you get into an accident.


Final Thoughts

Driving overloaded vehicles can incur huge costs for businesses.

So, be sure to carry out the relevant training for your drivers so that they are aware of weight limits.

Moreover, ensure you have the relevant vehicle and plan your load to spread evenly over the axles.

If in doubt, check with the operator or take your vehicle to the nearest approved weighbridge.


For more information, get in touch.

In the meantime, check our Vehicle Weight Checker solutions.