Figures due to be published later this month by the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) show that 55.1% of vans stopped last year were overloaded.
“This is staggering news and requires fleet operators to get a grip immediately,” said Barry Illing, managing director of Roadfleet Forte Limited. “It’s all about education. Drivers are not receiving the necessary training.”
The rise is due to new technology that detects illegally loaded vans automatically.
Overloaded light commercial vehicles can now be detected by automatic number plate recognition cameras and weight-in-motion sensors embedded on major roads. Drivers are increasingly being stopped and served with prohibition notices.
The number of prohibition notices has risen consistently over the past five years.
In 2002, just over 20% of LCVs stopped were found to be overloaded. In 2005/06, the figure had risen to 38.7%, and last year it hit 55.1%.
“This is not a growing problem, but the increased prohibition rate is a result of our increasingly targeted approach to roadside enforcement,” explained a VOSA spokesman.
Drivers and their managers risk prosecution and can find themselves liable for penalty points and a fine for permitting a vehicle to be driven while overloaded.
At the roadside, VOSA officials can stop a van from being driven until it meets the legal weight.