If you are transporting goods in the UK, it is important you are aware of the Road Traffic Act 1998’s laws on vehicle weights.
The regulation makes it an offence to drive on a public road in an overloaded vehicle.
But how do you know if your vehicle weights are excessive, and what are the consequences of overloading? This blog post is here to help.
Why do overloading provisions exist?
Both the police and the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) has the power to stop and carry out checks on all commercial vehicles.
The provisions exist as vehicles that are overloaded can cause excessive wear and damages to roads and bridges.
Exceeding vehicle weights can also affect safety as it makes the vehicle less stable - potentially causing issues with braking.
How do you know how much you’re legally allowed to carry?
In order to calculate how much weight you can carry, you need to find out the vehicle’s Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW), and also the weight of the vehicle with a full tank of petrol but no additional passengers (known as kerb weight). Both of these can be found in your car’s instruction manual.
You can then find out the value in kg which you can transport, by deducting the kerb weight from the gross weight.
To ensure you are inside the law, you can then weigh goods before loading, or weigh your vehicle once it has been loaded.
What are the penalties for overloading?
If your vehicle is found to be overloaded, you could face fines of up to £5000. Drivers of dangerously overloaded vehicles could also face the prospect of points on their licences.
What can be done to prevent overloading?
As mentioned earlier, you can ensure your vehicle weighs a suitable amount you can try weighing goods prior to loading, or weighing your vehicle fully loaded.
Marsden platform scales are ideal for heavy goods weighing, with capacities available up to 3000kg. They come with a range of indicators to make weighing easier and a stainless steel version is also available for more robust weighing.
Alternatively, Marsden’s range of axle weigh pads are suitable for weighing all manner of vehicles. The Marsden AP-200 are high capacity, hard wearing pads. They have an easy-to-use touchscreen indicator, which displays weight when a vehicle moves over the pads. They also have a integral printer and a capcity of 20,000kg.