Every vehicle on the road, from cars to Articulated Trucks has what is known as a plated weight. It is illegal to exceed this plated weight. The Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) and the Police both have powers to stop, weigh, and restrict any vehicle on a UK road. This means that an operator who is running their vehicle over laden illegally could find themselves on the receiving end of a stiff penalty, in addition to the inconvenience of not being able to continue their journey. It is also possible that a vehicle could be deemed to be in an unroadworthy condition due to overloading, this could make insurance void and make it a very expensive situation.
You have a Duty of Care to yourself, your Employees and the General Public to ensure that your vehicle (and those of the people who work for you) are safe and used in a legally compliant fashion. Overloading is an absolute offence – which in extreme cases could lead to charges of Corporate Manslaughter – there are no excuses!
The See-Saw Effect
When talking about vehicle weight, almost everybody knows that a vehicle has a Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) which refers to its plated weight. What a lot of people don’t realise is that there is also a plated weight for the front and rear axles. This means that although you could be running legally overall, you could be illegal thanks to the weight being biased too far to the front or rear.
Start with the specification of the vehicle – is it correctly sized to do the job? Many vehicle manufacturers now produce small vehicles with large carrying capacity at their customer’s request, and whilst this is fine if you are distributing pillows or cornflakes, you might have a hard time if you are a scrap metal merchant. Next, look at your monitoring capabilities. When was the last time you check weighed a vehicle? Do your drivers have a list of public weighbridges? Do you have a procedure in place?
Training is important. Does the appropriate staff know the correct weight limits for your vehicles? If your drivers carry out multi-drops, have they been trained in how best to redistribute a load? Have you educated your customers as to how to package their goods to help you with heavy weights?
Red Forge Axle Load Indication Systems
Basic Overload Protection – designed to give a warning of ‘approaching’ and ‘exceeded’ legal load limits on individual axles and Gross Vehicle Weight without having to visit a weighbridge. Using spring deflection, these systems fall well within the guidelines for DVSA enforcement of overload prosecutions. These are the most common form of system suitable for commercial vehicles. By installing an Axle Load Indicator you are providing your drivers with a means to monitor their load condition.
Red Forge produce market leading systems suitable for almost any vehicle configuration you can think of, and then some besides. We have been involved in the design and modification of bespoke systems since the early 1980s. For further advice please see http://redforge.co.uk/guide-to-vehicle-weighing/ for a comprehensive guide to on-vehicle weighing or contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you prefer please telephone 01527 526112.