Vehicle Overloading Offence Solicitors

Overloading Offences

If you have recently been stopped for overloading a vehicle, or If you are concerned that the vehicle you are driving is overloaded, Cartwright King’s overloading offence solicitors can help.

There are different penalties to overloading a vehicle. These depend on factors such as:

  • whether you are the driver
  • if you are the owner of the vehicle,
  • whether you are the owner of the company operating the vehicle.

If you or your business is facing a penalty for overloading a vehicle, a specialist motoring offence solicitor can provide legal advice to form a strong defence, protecting your interests and avoiding prosecution.  

Overloading a Car with Passengers

You could be stopped for careless driving if your car is carrying more passengers than it is designed for. Not only is overloading your car with passengers a serious invalidation of your insurance but it poses a risk to everyone in the car.

Although there is no strict law on your call being overloaded with passengers, doing so can create many distractions for the driver. For example, the driver may not be able to see out of wing mirrors, and passengers could create blind spots. As a result, dangerous driving is more likely to occur if you overload a car with passengers.

If you are stopped for careless driving, you could be fined £100 on the spot.

The Law on Overloading Offences

Section 40A Road Traffic Act 1988 states a person is guilty of an offence if he uses, causes, or permits another to use a motor vehicle or trailer on a road when:

  • The condition of the motor vehicle or trailer, or it’s accessories or equipment.
  • The number of passengers carried by it, or the way they are carried.
  • The weight, position or distribution of its load, or the way it is secured is such that the use of motor vehicles or trailer involves a danger or injury to any person.

Why Overloading a Vehicle Dangerous?

Overloading a vehicle can be extremely dangerous. If a vehicle such as an HGV is overloaded, it can become difficult to steer and stopping times will be reduced. In addition, an overloaded vehicle will put unnecessary strain upon the tyres. This can result in them overheating or cause a blow-out.  Finally, vehicles will require more fuel resulting in higher costs to the operator.

If your vehicle is pulled over for being overloaded, it may be prohibited from being driven again until the weight is offloaded. If a vehicle is found to be overloaded, it can trigger DVSA scrutiny and leads to them carrying out a review of your systems. Furthermore, the driver may receive a fixed penalty notice.  

Under section 41B of the Road Traffic Act 1988, it’s an offence to use a vehicle that doesn’t comply with the construction and use requirements for weight. There is also the potential of prosecution for using a vehicle while in a dangerous condition. This is where the overloading causes risk to other road users.

It’s essential that all road users know the weight their vehicles can carry before setting out on the road.

Penalty for Overloading Offence

In accordance with the DVSA, the following fines are imposable for vehicle overloading offences:

  • 5-9% overloaded – £100
  • 10-14% overloaded – £200
  • 15% and above overloaded – £300

Where a vehicle is more than 15% overloaded, you are more likely to receive a court summons. In addition, you will likely have the vehicle immobilised and be fined £80. If you are involved in an accident, your insurance may become invalid. As a result, your case will be passed on to the Magistrates’ Court. Here you can be fine amount is unlimited.  

What Defences for Vehicle Overloading Offence

There are two defences against an overloading offence according to the Road Traffic Act 1988. These are:

  • The suspected vehicle was proceeding to a weighbridge to be weighed and it was the nearest available to where the loading of the vehicle was completed.
  • The suspected vehicle was leaving a weighbridge after being weighed to travel to the nearest suitable place to reduce the weight of the relevant limit.

Where the overload weight does not exceed 5%, it must be proven that the limit was not exceeded at the time when loading of the vehicle was originally completed. Additionally, it must be proved that since that time nobody has made and addition to the load.

How Cartwright King’s Overloading Offence Solicitors Can Help

Due to the penalties that you can face for a vehicle overloading offence, it’s vital that you seek legal expertise straight away. Our team of motoring offence solicitors can advise you and help you to avoid prosecution. Our solicitors can represent you during any legal proceedings. Additionally, we can provide assistance on putting into action best practice policies and procedures to avoid the offence reoccurring.

Get in contact today.

We're here for you.

Frequently asked questions.

Is Legal Aid Available?

It is not likely that Legal Aid is available. However, if your case satisfies the “interest of justice” test and you are financially eligible, Legal Aid may be available.