More than 50 per cent of van drivers are unknowingly driving uninsured in the UK by overloading their vans, warns a Dundee business.
Clark Commercials Dundee is working alongside Volkswagen Commercials Vehicles and the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) to educate van drivers about the potential dangers to driving overloaded vehicles, having found over 1.2 million vehicles* are affected.
Independent research commissioned by the commercial vehicle manufacturer found that three quarters of businesses do not realise their insurance could potentially be invalidated if a company vehicle is involved in a crash and found to be over the legal weight limit.
Joe McCauley, head of business at Clark Commercials Dundee , highlighted that companies could face steep penalties for failing to comply, including fines, immobilisation of the vehicle and, in severe cases, a court summons.
Research, which surveyed both fleet managers and van drivers, found that nearly half of UK businesses don’t monitor the weights of their company vehicles, and 53 per cent of drivers don’t know their vehicle’s maximum load carrying capacity.
Overloading can impact on the van’s driving performance and lead to increased stopping distances, difficulty in steering and potentially tipping over. It will also cause excessive wear and tear to the van affecting tyres, suspension and brakes.
Gordon MacDonald, vehicle product manager at the DVSA, commented: “The research highlights that a large proportion of van drivers could be breaking the law and posing serious safety risks to themselves and other road users. Overloading is a real issue on our roads and it is the responsibility of both the driver and the business to load vehicles correctly and keep their van within its legal weight limit.”
For businesses running a fleet of vans which don’t comply with safety regulations it can be costly. Last year, the DVSA stopped over 10,800 vans on UK roads and found 89 per cent to be driving overloaded.
Joe added: “Van driver’s safety is of paramount importance to us which is why we work closely with our customers to understand their specific business needs.
“Overloading a vehicle can be easily done so we are working alongside the DVSA to advise van drivers and businesses to be more conscious about payloads and vehicle safety before they set out.”
To help businesses avoid overloading Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has created a simple online guide, which includes information on vehicle payloads and locations of public weighbridges. Visit www.volkswagen-vans.co.uk/vehicle-overloading or call Clark Commercials Dundee on 01382 690 152.