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.
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