Research reveals 88% of vans are overloaded and unsafe for UK roads
07 June 2016
Author: Debbie Wood
Research recently published from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency has revealed that almost nine in 10 vans weighed in 2015 were overloaded, making them unsafe and potentially illegal for UK roads.
A total of 2381 vans were tested for the research and Venson Automotive Solutions is urging businesses to tighten up checks and educate staff about the health and safety implications to vehicle loading.
According to data from the Society of Motoring Manufacturers released in April, around a quarter of vans currently on sale in the UK are available with advanced collision warning systems, some now feature autonomous emergency braking systems too. Despite the introduction of this new safety tech, though, the society is warning that overloaded vans still pose a risk to its driver and other road users, adding vital metres to braking distances and affecting handling.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said, "Manufacturers are investing significant amounts in new safety technology, but this can only do part of the job. We continue to urge operators and owners to comply with the law to keep themselves and others safe, avoid the risk of fines and keep the threat of further legislation at bay."
Venson Automotive Solutions is also encouraging businesses to take into consideration how their vehicles are used, including the working environment and the payload of the goods and equipment they are carrying prior to any conversion.
"When it comes to equipping vehicles, it's essential to keep in mind the payload quoted by the manufacturer," explains operations director, Gil Kelly at Venson Automotive Solutions. "Too many businesses cut corners when it comes to equipping their vehicles, or don't recognise the impact an inferior product could have on vehicle or driver safety. The worst offenders include overloaded vehicles, poorly secured equipment and a lack of pedestrian warning systems."
Kelly believes that getting the vehicle specification correct at the outset can save businesses time and money but more importantly improve staff safety. Below are the firms top safety tips for van loading
- Know the weight and weight limits of your vehicle. Maximum permitted axle weight and Gross Vehicle Weight can be found in your driver handbook or sometimes on a plate located by the bulkhead or by the driver or passenger door.
- Be careful not to mix up the Gross Vehicle Weight with the Gross Train Weight. 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 (plus any load being carried in the vehicle and trailer)
- Ensure the load is distributed evenly. After any drop-offs, re-check the distribution of the remaining load and that it is secured safely - heavy items on the bottom, lighter items on the top.
- Ensure the GVW is checked before setting out using your own weight pads or use a public weigh-bridge. Alternatively consider having your vehicle fitted with on-board weighing systems.
- Never automatically trust declared weights, invoices or delivery notes given to you by customers. Remember that you and your employer hold the responsibility for not overloading, not the customer.
- Loads should be secured to make sure they do not slide around during transport. In vehicle storage solutions may help.
- Carry out health & safety assessment for loading and unloading the vehicle, both internal items and external items such as ladders, materials etc.
- Consider alternative storage solutions. What was once carried on the roof/side of vehicle is now not necessarily required.