It's still surprising what some people don't know about vehicle weights. And sometimes the axle weighing systems on the market don't help.
Some people don't appreciate that the vehicle weights are shown in kilogrammes on the plating certificate.
To avoid any confusion, we always show the weight in kilogrammes on our displays so they appear in the same format as the vehicle plate. Some systems don't and quite a few imported ones show weights in lbs.
|Axle Weighbridge showing weight in kilogrammes.|
Other people may not know the difference between GVW and GTW.
For anyone wondering, GVW is the Gross Vehicle Weight is the maximum permitted weight of the vehicle including the load whilst the GTW is the Gross Train Weight is the maximum permitted weight of the vehicle, any trailer and its load.
With so many options available to weigh axles it's surprising how many people still rely on the declared weight of the consignment. Even more surprising given that its the operator doing the hauling and his driver who are responsible for any overloads not the consignor.
Our advice would be to never ever trust any weights you are provided with and to make sure you weigh the vehicle.
There is though the possibility that the consignor can be charged with causing and permitting the vehicle to be overloaded.
Whether making the consignor liable or not is another debate but because an overload affects all the major components of the vehicle - suspension, tyres, steering, clutch, brakes - it ought to be in the interests of everyone who transports goods to avoid it.
Some may be tempted to overload a vehicle as they think they are saving money by doing fewer trips but exactly the reverse is true. Tyre wear will be greater, fuel consumption will be higher and by wearing out the clutch, brakes and steering components quicker you'll need to make expensive repairs sooner than you were expecting.
There is also the possibility that driving a vehicle in an overloaded condition can invalidate the insurance. After all, the Construction and Use regulations clearly state that “all parts and accessories and the weight distribution, packing and adjustment of their loads shall be such that no danger is likely to be caused to any person in or on the vehicle or trailer or on the road.”
All this plus the fact that it's potentially fatal even. We've been involved in more than one investigation into fatal accidents where we've been asked to weigh the vehicles involved.
And as companies have a duty of care under the Health & Safety legislation, it is down to managers to make sure that they are not putting their drivers, fellow work colleagues and even members of the public at risk by overloading their vehicles.
The bottom line is that an operator ought to understand how the weight is recorded on the plating certificate, have a weighing system with an identical display so there is no confusion and know exactly what his vehicle and/or trailer can carry.
We have a vast range of systems available and can recommend the correct one for you vehicle and your needs.