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Fines & Penalties For Overloaded Vans [Legal Limits]

Penalties, Fines & Endorsements For Overloading A Van Feature Image

According to the DVSA, 8 out of 10 vehicles stopped at the roadside are found to be overloaded and a staggering 54% of those are also found to have serious mechanical defects.

Penalties for overloaded vans tend to come in the form of fixed penalties ranging from £100 to £300. However, if a van is overloaded by more than 30%, a court summons is normally issued which can result in a larger fine from £500 to £1500. Depending on the severity of the offence, endorsements and further fines may also be imposed.

How Do I Know How Much Weight I’m Allowed To Carry?

Every motor vehicle (car, van, truck, bus, lorry, and even trailers) has a kerb weight and a gross vehicle weight.

  • The kerb weight of your vehicle is shown on your vehicle’s VIN plate and states the weight of your vehicle, in kgs, as it sits, unloaded, without goods or passengers.
  • Gross vehicle weight (GVW) is also stated on your VIN plate and lets you know how much your van, car, or whatever, is permitted to weigh before it exceeds its legal limit and becomes overloaded.

The difference between the 2 is called payload capacity and this is the maximum weight you’re allowed to carry in kgs.

For instance, a Vauxhall Movano has a kerb weight (empty and unloaded) of 1880kg and a gross weight (fully loaded) of 3500kg. In this case, the available payload of this van is 1620kg – the maximum amount, in kgs, this van is legally permitted to carry.

Kerb Weight (1880kg) + Payload (1620kg) = Gross Weight (3500kg).

GVW (3500kg) is the maximum weight the van above can legally weigh overall. If you exceed this weight you’re effectively overloaded and can find yourself subject to fixed penalties.

Can You Be Fined For Overloading Your Van?

Penalties for overloaded vans come in the form of on the spot fines and the amount you pay depends on how much you’re overloaded.

These are the fixed penalties:

Overweight By Fine (Fixed Penalty)
5% – 9.99%£100
10% – 14.99%£200
15% – 29.99%£300
30% & OverCourt Summons
Penalties for overloaded vehicles

Points to note:

  • The DVSA examiners will allow a 5% leeway before issuing a fixed penalty unless you’re overloaded by 1 tonne or more.
  • A court summons can result in endorsements, penalty points, and even a driving ban if you’re overloaded to the point of endangerment.
  • Further offences such as a CU50 (causing or likely to cause danger by reason of load or passengers) carry their own fines and penalties.

So, not only do you get fined for overloading in the form of fixed penalties, you can face further fines & endorsements if you’re overloaded to the point where a court summons is deemed appropriate by a DVSA examiner.

Do You Get Penalty Points For Overloading A Van?

Fixed penalties for overloading do not carry penalty points on their own. This, again, depends on how much you’re overloaded and if it is to the point where the excess weight is enough for a DVSA examiner to issue a court summons.

If you find yourself in court, it’s possible you will face further penalties relating to road traffic offences. A DD40 (Dangerous Driving), for instance, carries 3 to 11 penalty points and a CU50 (causing or likely to cause danger by reason of load or passengers) carries 3.

Who Is Responsible If A Vehicle Is Overloaded?

If your van is found to be overloaded, you’ll be held responsible as the operator of that vehicle. This applies to cars, vans, as well as any other motor vehicles and even includes trailers.

As you will be held responsible, it’s your responsibility to ensure that you don’t exceed the gross weight of your vehicle by loading it with more weight than it is designed to carry. Your VIN plate will tell you how much payload you’re allowed to carry.

Can I Be Banned From Driving For Overloading My Vehicle?

The short answer is yes, you can be banned from driving for seriously overloading your van.

Normally, a fixed penalty would be inappropriate for serious cases of overloading – for example when the vehicle is overloaded by 30% and over, or the excess weight is 5 tonnes – so a court summons would be issued instead.

If the excess weight and the way the load is carried is having a significant effect on road safety – for example, serious instability or loss of control, these other offences will mean a court summons, with the excess weight being part of the offence/s.

From The DVSA

Serious instability is effectively “dangerous driving” (offence code DD40) as well as “causing or likely to cause danger by reason of load or passengers” (offence code CU50).

Both offences are endorsable. DD40 carries 3 to 11 penalty points and CU50 carries 3 penalty points and can result in a driving ban under the totting up system.

How Do I Avoid Penalties For Overloading My Van?

Penalties for overloaded vans can be severe. You can make sure you don’t overload your van by knowing the payload capacity of your vehicle and, simply, by not exceeding it.

Easier said than done, yes, but it’s critical that you get a feel for how your van drives when fully loaded. If it drives more like a boat than a van and the steering feels like it’s taking on more than it should be, your van is probably overloaded.

One, not very scientific, way of making sure you’re never, or at least never dangerously, overloaded is to take your van to a weighbridge and load it with whatever items you have at hand to get it to its maximum GVW.

Then, measure the rear suspension from the top of the tyre to the wheel arch and record this value.

This way, whenever you’re loading your van, this measurement will give you a rough indication as to whether or not you’re approaching your GVW and if you’re at risk of overloading.

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