The Hidden Risks on the Road: Van Overloading and Its Consequences

by AutoExpert   |  17 November, 2023

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In a recent eye-opening survey conducted by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, a concerning trend has emerged on the roads of the UK. Astonishingly, nearly half (48%) of UK van drivers confessed to overloading their vehicles.

This revelation comes despite an overwhelming 89% of drivers claiming awareness of the legal weight restrictions for their light commercial vehicles (LCVs).

Van Overloading

The implications are substantial. Overloading a vehicle by just 30% of its gross vehicle weight could result in a hefty fine of up to £300 (approximately $360). Collectively, this puts the nation’s van drivers at risk of incurring a staggering £703 million (about $843 million) in penalties.

But the consequences don't end there. For those pushing the limits beyond 30% overload, the repercussions are even more severe, potentially leading to court summons and even custodial sentences in extreme cases.

Van Overloading

The survey sheds light on demographic trends too. A notable 66% of younger drivers, aged between 18 and 24, admitted to overloading their van in 2022. This figure was closely followed by 63% of drivers aged 65 or above.

When it comes to trades, carpenters top the list as the most likely to overload their vans, with 63% admitting to this practice. They are closely followed by builders (60%), electricians (55%), and painter decorators (55%).

Van Overloading

In the UK, the maximum gross vehicle weight for an LCV stands at 3.5 tonnes (3,500kg), which increases to 4.25 tonnes (4,250kg) for alternatively-fuelled vehicles like the all-electric Volkswagen ID. Buzz. The penalties for overloading are tiered based on the percentage overweight and range from a £100 (around $120) fine for a 5-9.99% overload to a court summons for over 30% overload.

Van Overloading

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles’ "Working With You" promise aims to support customers throughout the vehicle purchasing process. This includes advising on selecting the correct van for business needs, a service that's available across their extensive network of 60 Van Centres and 30 Authorised Repairers in the UK.

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