Van overloading risk exposed

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【Summary】Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles conducted a survey revealing that almost half of van drivers admitted to overloading their vehicles, despite knowing the legal weight restrictions. Overloading a van by up to 30% of its gross vehicle weight can result in fines of up to £300, while exceeding 30% may lead to a court summons and custodial sentence. The survey also found that young people and tradespeople, such as carpenters and builders, were more likely to overload their vans.

FutureCar Staff    Nov 06, 2023 10:15 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%) of the 1,000 drivers surveyed admitted to overloading their vans.

Overloading a vehicle by up to 30% of its gross vehicle weight can result in a fine of up to £300. In more serious cases where the vehicle is overloaded by more than 30%, offenders may even receive a court summons and a custodial sentence. The survey also found that 66% of young people aged 18-24 and 63% of over 65-year-olds had driven their vans overloaded in the past year.

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

The maximum gross vehicle weight for an LCV in the UK is 3.5 tonnes (3,500kg), which increases to 4.25 tonnes (4,250kg) for electric vans. The penalties for overloading vary depending on the percentage overweight. For example, a penalty charge of £100 applies for being 5-9.99% overweight, while being over 30% overweight can result in a court summons.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Authority (DVSA) emphasized their commitment to protecting everyone from unsafe drivers and vehicles. They stated that it is the driver's responsibility to ensure their vehicle is safe to drive and that they should be aware of the maximum permitted gross vehicle weight and limits on each axle of their vehicle. The DVSA takes enforcement action against drivers and operators who risk people's lives by overloading or not securely loading their vehicles.

To avoid overloading vehicles, it is crucial for drivers to be aware of and adhere to the DVSA's regulations. Purchasing the right-sized van is also important in order to minimize the risk of overloading. For more information on how to avoid vehicle overloading, readers can refer to the Fleet News guide.

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