Share this article
Van overload
1 in 5 vans is overloaded according to VOSA. The fines are hefty, and you’re in court if your van is 30% over weight

ONE fifth of all vans on the road is overloaded.

A scary stat from VOSA, the Vehicle Operator and Services Agency.

VOSA, which has the power to ensure vans are legally compliant, says that excess weight is also number one on its top 5 offences.

Tholos van overload protection
The Tholos system is the first for vans up to 3.5 tonnes. A simple ‘traffic light’ warning system tells the driver if there’s a problem

So what can van operators do to ensure that their vehicles stay within the law on vehicle weight?

One answer might be the newly launched Tholos van overload protection system.

Developed by Tholos Technology, specialists in load technology from aviation to shipping, the overload protection system is the first for vans up to 3.5t that uses internal loading monitoring.

The overload protection and load distribution monitoring system uses Bluetooth to display a traffic light warning system of a van’s load distribution in real time.

It works on all Android devices and not only warns if the van is overloaded but if the van is incorrectly loaded – with weight that is not evenly distributed.

“We recognised that van overloading is a huge concern for van operators, and have developed this tool to help business van users stay legally compliant,” explained Alan Macdonald, sales director at Tholos Technology.

“A full installation of the van overload protection system takes less than an hour without any need for specialist tools, while calibration takes less than 30 minutes,” Alan added.

The Tholos system can store 45 days of data to allow business van managers to analyse their van fleet usage.

It will also display if a van is underweight but incorrectly loaded, which would affect van road holding and tyre wear.

Tholos first showed the system at this year’s CV Show 2013 at the NEC.

Vehicle overloading is covered by three areas of law, covering both business van operator and business van driver, according to VOSA.

These are:

  • Health and Safety at Work Act 1999 – all companies have a duty of care to their employees which includes their safety. Ensuring a van is not overweight is part of this duty of care
  • The Road Traffic Act 1988 – this requires that van operator and driver be responsible for ensuring that the van is not overloaded. Fines go up to a maximum of £5000 for the worst offences.
  • The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986 – this states that loads must not represent a danger to any person in the vehicle

Fixed penalty fines can also be applied for van overloading – see table below.


What are the fixed penalty fines for overloading?


Vehicle overweight byPenalty
5% to 10%£60
10% to 15%£120
15% to 30%£200
More than 30%Court summons

Source: VOSA

You should also read this on safe van loading in our Van Law – Weights section.

Also click here to read the editor’s view in the BV Blog section The fine that led to a new idea.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here