Almost half (48%) of UK van drivers admitted that they overloaded their vans last year, according to a survey by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.
This figure is despite 89% of drivers claiming to know the legal weight restriction for their light commercial vehicles (LCVs).
Overloading a vehicle by as much as 30% of its gross vehicle weight could lead to a fine of up to £300, meaning the nation’s van drivers are risking a combined £703 million in penalties. Anything above 30% overloaded and offenders may even be issued with a court summons and a custodial sentence in the most serious cases.
The survey found that 66% of young people (aged 18-24) had driven their vans overloaded in the year, followed by 63% of over 65 year olds.
Additionally, the survey showed that carpenters are the trades people most likely to overload their vans (63%), closely followed by builders (60%), electricians (55%) and painter decorators (55%).
A DVSA spokesperson said:
DVSA’s priority is to protect everyone from unsafe drivers and vehicles. It is drivers’ responsibility to ensure their vehicles are safe to drive. They should make sure they know the maximum permitted gross vehicle weight and limits on each axle of their vehicles.
We take enforcement action against drivers and operators who risk people’s lives by overloading or not securely loading their vehicles. Our accessible online guidance provides everyone with the information they need to load their vehicle safely and avoid risking the lives of other road users.