Van overloading risk exposed

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【Summary】Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has found that almost half of van drivers admit to overloading their vehicles, despite knowing the legal weight restrictions. Overloading a van by up to 30% could result in a fine of £300, while exceeding this limit may lead to a court summons and even a custodial sentence. The survey also revealed that young people and tradespeople, such as carpenters and builders, are the most likely to overload their vans.

FutureCar Staff    Nov 06, 2023 3:15 PM PT
Van overloading risk exposed

According to new research from Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, van drivers are putting themselves at risk of a £300 fine or a court order by overloading their vans. Despite 89% of drivers claiming to know the legal weight restriction for their light commercial vehicle (LCV), almost half (48%) admitted to overloading their vans.

Overloading a vehicle by up to 30% of its gross vehicle weight could result in a fine of up to £300. In more severe cases, offenders may even receive a court summons and a custodial sentence for exceeding the 30% limit. The survey revealed that 66% of young people aged 18-24 had driven overloaded vans in the past year, followed by 63% of individuals over the age of 65.

The research also highlighted that carpenters were the most likely tradespeople to overload their vans, with 63% admitting to doing so. Builders, electricians, and painter decorators closely followed, with 60%, 55%, and 55% respectively.

In the UK, the maximum gross vehicle weight for an LCV is 3.5 tonnes (3,500kg), which increases to 4.25 tonnes (4,250kg) for electric vans. The penalty charges for overloading vary based on the percentage overweight:

- 5-9.99%: £100 fine

- 10-14.99%: £200 fine

- 15-29.99%: £300 fine

- Over 30%: Court summons

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Authority (DVSA) emphasizes their commitment to protecting everyone from unsafe drivers and vehicles. They state that it is the driver's responsibility to ensure their vehicle is safe to drive and that they are aware of the maximum permitted gross vehicle weight and limits on each axle.

The DVSA takes enforcement action against drivers and operators who risk people's lives by overloading or not securely loading their vehicles. It is crucial for drivers to know and adhere to the DVSA's regulations and purchase the appropriate-sized van to minimize the risk of overloading.

To learn more about how to avoid vehicle overloading, you can refer to the Fleet News guide.

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