Overloading LGVs is still the top offence in roadside checks

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Overloading of LGVs is still the top offence on UK roads, according to the latest annual effectiveness report by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA).

Commenting on the findings, Colin Smith from Avery Weigh-Tronix said: “As well as being a criminal offence which can attract fines and prosecution, overloading can have a detrimental impact on the roadworthiness of vehicles – from braking systems to increased instability and wear and tear.

“Looking through the report, it is worrying to note that roadside checks found defects in braking systems of almost 19% of HGV trailers, along with various other issues such as steering, suspension and tyres. An overloaded vehicle in good condition is potentially hazardous, but overloading a vehicle which also has other issues relating to its roadworthiness could be extremely dangerous.”

The report, which contains data on vehicle testing and enforcement activity over the past 12 months, shows that overloading of LGVs is still the top offence on UK roads, with both the number of prosecutions and the average fine up on last year.

Overloading of HGVs also continues to be an issue, being the fifth most common offence for prosecution during the same period.

Smith continued: “I hope that these figures serve as a warning to fleet operators that overloading is a serious issue. Both the driver of the vehicle and the operator are legally responsible for avoiding overloading and both can be prosecuted. It is vital that both parties know and understand the risks and take measures to avoid overloading.

“Drivers should check their vehicle’s ID plate, which is usually located in the cabin and gives details of maximum permissible axle weight and maximum permissible gross weight. Loads should also be evenly distributed across the vehicle and weights should be checked before setting out. Finally, drivers and operators should familiarise themselves with the legislation to ensure they know and understand their obligations.”

Alastair Peoples, chief executive of the DVSA, warned delegates at the 2014 Fleet Van Summit that the van sector poses the greatest threat to road safety because a significant number of fleets are flouting the rules.

He told delegates that the newly-formed DVSA – a combination of the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) and the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA– is determined to improve standards.

For more on this story, click here. 

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  • Edward Handley - 13/01/2015 18:12

    I really wish that the VOSA side of DVSA would be more careful with their terms and abbreviations because the headline and content of the article above is potentially very misleading. HGV (heavy goods vehicle) is an old term and is pretty widely understood: It means a truck with a maximum authorised mass exceeding 7.5 tonnes. LGV normally means a Large Goods Vehicle as this is the term used in the driving licence regulations. LGVs are trucks exceeding 3500 kg, so actually includes HGVs and all those medium weight trucks which require a tachograph, O licence and a C1 licence. VOSA insist on using the same abbreviation for Light Goods Vehicles, in other words vans, pick ups and so on below 3500 kg. These vehicles are also referred to as LCVs, Light Commercial Vehicles, which is considerably less misleading. Does this confusion matter? Yes it does, because some journalist, probably one working for a tabloid will glance at the story above and we will then have a shock horror expose on the front of the Daily Snail or the Scum saying that the Driver CPC is not working because 9 out of 10 trucks are still overloaded, because DVSA say so! By the time someone gets them to understand the mistake they will have convinced a large proportion of the Great British Public that our trucks are all overloaded and are a danger to us all, and the paper will just print a correction in 2 pitch font at the bottom of page 67. Come on DVSA - sort your terms and definitions out! Vans and pick ups are NOT LGVs. Either call them LCVs, or better still, think up a new term that is even less likely to cause confusion - how about SCV - Small Commercial Vehicles?

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