DVSA, the newly named government that used to be called VOSA, will normally impose a fixed penalty for a first relatively minor overloading offence.
The direct gov website tells us that the following fines will be imposed for overloading;
5-10% overloaded – £100
10-15% overloaded – £200
15-30% overloaded – £300
More than 30% overloaded and you will normally get a court summons, your vehicle may be immobilised, you can be fined £80 & your insurance may be invalid if you are involved in an accident.
At the magistrates court, overloading goods or passenger vehicles carries the following risks;
Breach of requirement as to weight: goods and passenger vehicles.
[Level 5 on the standard scale .]
This means that these cases can only be tried in the Magistrates Courts (summarily) and not at the Crown Court and carry the risk of an unlimited fine (it’s very rare that it will be that high, especially if an individual rather than a company is summonsed).
41B Breach of requirement as to weight: goods and passenger vehicles.
(1)A person who—
(a)contravenes or fails to comply with a construction and use requirement as to any description of weight applicable to—
(i)a goods vehicle, or
(ii)a motor vehicle or trailer adapted to carry more than eight passengers, or
(b)uses on a road a vehicle which does not comply with such a requirement, or causes or permits a vehicle to be so used, is guilty of an offence.
(2)In any proceedings for an offence under this section in which there is alleged a contravention of or failure to comply with a construction and use requirement as to any description of weight applicable to a goods vehicle, it shall be a defence to prove either—
(a)that at the time when the vehicle was being used on the road—
(i)it was proceeding to a weighbridge which was the nearest available one to the place where the loading of the vehicle was completed for the purpose of being weighed, or
(ii)it was proceeding from a weighbridge after being weighed to the nearest point at which it was reasonably practicable to reduce the weight to the relevant limit, without causing an obstruction on any road, or
(b)in a case where the limit of that weight was not exceeded by more than 5 per cent.—
(i)that that limit was not exceeded at the time when the loading of the vehicle was originally completed, and
(ii)that since that time no person has made any addition to the load.]
There is a more serious offence of Using a Vehicle in a Dangerous Condition which can be based on serious overloading issues. these offences are more serious because the prosecution (VOSA) will be suggesting that the overloading or manor of loading was so serious that it it posed a dangerous risk to people;
40A Using vehicle in dangerous condition etc.
A person is guilty of an offence if he uses, or causes or permits another to use, a motor vehicle or trailer on a road when—
(a)the condition of the motor vehicle or trailer, or of its accessories or equipment, or
(b)the purpose for which it is used, or
(c)the number of passengers carried by it, or the manner in which they are carried, or
(d)the weight, position or distribution of its load, or the manner in which it is secured,
is such that the use of the motor vehicle or trailer involves a danger of injury to any person.]
The potential penalties for this offences are far more serious;
[Using vehicle in dangerous condition etc.]
[(a) Level 5 on the standard scale if committed in respect of a goods vehicle or a vehicle adapted to carry more than eight passengers.]
[(b) Level 4 on the standard scale in any other case.]
See DVSA Government Information here.
These offences are more serious if committed in a goods vehicles or a passenger service vehicle, in which case the fines can be much higher. There is also the risk of 3 penalty points or a discretionary ban.
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