Vehicle Overloading Offences

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Vehicle Overloading Offences

If you have recently had a vehicle stopped for being overloaded, or are concerned about overloading in general, the road transport solicitors at JMW can help you and your business.

Vehicle overloading offences carry different penalties depending on whether you are the driver, the owner of the vehicle, or the owner of a company operating the vehicle. Facing allegations of overloading requires specialist legal advice to provide a strong defence that will help to mitigate the outcome of a prosecution.

To speak to us about overloading, simply call us on 0345 872 6666, or complete our online enquiry form and a member of the team will give you a call back at a convenient time.

How JMW Can Help

Given the penalties imposed for a vehicle overloading offence, it is vital you get expert legal representation as soon as possible from an expert road transport solicitor. Our team will be able to advise you and can represent you at court.

Our services include:

  • Reviewing the allegations and the evidence
  • Working closely with you to understand how the offences occurred
  • Assisting you to put in place best practice policies and procedures
  • Liaising with investigators on your behalf
  • Representing you during any informal or formal proceedings

We will always seek to obtain the best possible outcome for you and your business.

Why is Overloading a Problem?

An overloaded HGV is difficult to steer and can take longer to stop due to the excess weight moving forward when the brakes are applied. In addition, an overloaded vehicle will be more demanding of its tyres, causing them to potentially overheat or even blow out. Such vehicles may also use up more fuel, which is a cost burdened by the operator.

If you run vehicles on the road while overloaded, they may be stopped, and the vehicle may be prohibited from running while it carries a weight not in accordance with its plating. Instances of overloading are likely to trigger DVSA scrutiny and could potentially lead to them carrying out a review of your systems. The driver may also receive a fixed penalty notice for driving while overloaded.

Under section 41B of the Road Traffic Act 1988, it is an offence to use a vehicle on a road that does not comply with the construction and use requirements regarding weight. However, there is also the potential to be prosecuted for using a vehicle while in a dangerous condition, where the manner of overloading places road users and others at risk.

It is important, therefore, that operators and drivers know the weights of their vehicles and their loads, and ensure that any load is distributed appropriately before setting off and after dropping off goods. There are public weighbridges available for operators who may wish to confirm vehicle and load weights.

What are the Penalties for a Vehicle Overloading Offence?

The DVSA outlines the following fines will be imposed for vehicle overloading offences:

  • 5-9% overloaded - £100
  • 10-14% overloaded - £200
  • 15% and above overloaded - £300

For vehicles that are found to be more than 30% overloaded, you are likely to receive a court summons, have the vehicle immobilised, be fined £80, and, if you are involved in an accident, your insurance may be invalid. Your case will be handled by the Magistrates’ Court in the first instance where you carry the risk of an unlimited fine.

What Defences are Available for Vehicle Overloading Offences?

The Road Traffic Act 1988 provides the following in relation to defence against an overloading offence:

  • The suspected vehicle was proceeding to a weighbridge to be weighed and it was the nearest available to where the loading of the vehicle was completed
  • The suspected vehicle was leaving a weighbridge after being weighed to travel to the nearest suitable place to reduce the weight to the relevant limit

If the overloaded weight did not exceed 5%, it must be proven that the limit was not exceeded at the time when the loading of the vehicle was originally completed, and since that time nobody has made any addition to the load.

Talk to Us

Speak to the road transport solicitors at JMW if you have been accused of a vehicle overloading offence. Simply call us on 0345 872 6666, or complete our online enquiry form and a member of the team will give you a call back at a convenient time.

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