A road transport lawyer has raised concerns about overloaded vans and the lack of training by drivers, after the FTA called for an increase in roadside checks to raise standards in the sector.
Laura Newton, partner solicitor at Smith Bowyer Clarke, said it had seen “quite a few cases of overloading” and that removal firms in particular were getting caught out.
She said: “The problem is always that there is quite a lot of space but really not that much capacity for additional weight.
“If there is a single heavy item it can easily overload an axle because the weight can’t be distributed.”
Newton added: “Vans don’t really make use of weighbridges and the drivers don’t have the additional necessary training. It has never really occurred to many van drivers, especially those drivers for others who simply follow instructions to collect items.”
Her advice is to always check a vehicle’s weight at a weighbridge and to understand how axle loads are calculated.
Newton said sanctions for overloading were severe but that there was a defence if the vehicle can be shown to be being driven to the nearest weighbridge from the point of loading.
Earlier this year, the FTA said the DVSA needed more funding in order to boost roadside inspections of vans and measures to encourage van fleets to record drivers’ hours.