How to prevent overloading a truck
Firstly it is the responsibility of the driver to ensure that the truck they take out onto the roads of Britain are safe and secure, there are ways that you can prevent overloading a truck which we explain in this beginners guide.
The Road Traffic Act 1988 requires “vehicle users” to ensure that vehicles are not overloaded.
The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986 require that “all parts and accessories and the weight distribution, packing and adjustment of their loads shall be such that no danger is likely to be caused to any person in or on the vehicle or trailer or on the road.”
This means that an employer must do all they can to ensure the safety of that driver, including having policies in place to ensure that their vehicle is not overloaded. The Act also places a duty of care on the employer to carry out suitable risk assessments.
The operator has a moral and legal responsibility which is shared with the driver of the vehicle.
Eight ways to prevent overloading your truck
- Know the weight of your vehicle and load. If possible, weigh the vehicle to establish individual axle weights.
- Re-Distribute your load appropriately after any drop-offs to avoid overloading axles.
- Check the Gross Vehicle Weight before setting out, either using your own weighbridge, or one nearby. You are allowed to drive to the nearest available weighbridge to check your load and then
go to a place where they can take off some of the load if the vehicle is overloaded.
- Do not automatically trust declared weights, invoices, or delivery notes given to you by customers. Remember that you hold the responsibility for not overloading, not the customer.
- Remember that the GVW (gross vehicle weight) and GTW (gross train weight) include the weight of the vehicle, load, trailer, driver, and any passengers. Also, allow for the weights of any pallets or packing cases.
- Make sure that your lift/tag axle is used correctly. Not using this axle when the vehicle is loaded could mean that the axle weight or gross weights could exceed their allowed limits.
- Find the maximum permitted axle weight and Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW). This could be on a
manufacturer’s plate or a Department for Transport plate which is usually located in the vehicle cab, under the bonnet, or on the chassis of a trailer. If your vehicle has manufacturer and Department for Transport plated weights, the Department for Transport limits should be used as these are the legal limits in the UK.
- Be careful not to mix up the Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) with the Gross Train Weight (GTW).
The GVW is the maximum permitted weight of the vehicle (plus any load it is carrying), while
the GTW is the maximum permitted weight of the vehicle plus any trailer being towed.
Seven effects of overloading a truck
- It makes the vehicle less stable, difficult to steer, and takes longer to stop. Vehicles react differently when the maximum weights which they are designed to carry are exceeded. The consequences can be fatal.
- Massive strain is put on vehicle tyres. Overloading can cause the tyres to overheat and wear rapidly which increases the chance of premature, dangerous, and expensive failure (such as blowouts).
- The insurance cover is void. Overloading a vehicle is illegal and therefore insurance cover can be voided if the vehicle is involved in a crash.
- It causes excessive wear and damage to roads, bridges, and pavements at the expense of the taxpayer.
- It is unfair on other operators. Exceeding weight limits is unfair competition as more load is moved per journey.
- Fuel consumption increases when carrying extra load, which will increase your costs.
- You could receive a huge fine or even a jail sentence.