Company vans..? my rights?? - Gaz_p_2001
I've been stopped driving a company van. It was over weight.
I don't generally drive this vehicle, i have a company car.
I'm now due up in court over this.
What i'd like to know is how much of the blame should my employer be taking..
I've never been given any training on the correct loading or use of this vehicle, i didn't even know it had a weight limit.

Company vans..? my rights?? - R75
What size van was it? Not that that really matters as it is the responsibility of the driver to ensure the vehicle is not overloaded - your employer "may" be nice and pay the fine for you, but they do not have to. I assume it was well over the plated weight for the van if they are taking you to court - There is very little defence on it I'm afraid - will have to put it down to a learning expierence - for future ref. if you were close to the point where the van was loaded you could say you were on your way to a weigh bridge to check, but that defence is too late now. Your employers should also be getting a visit from VOSA if they run vans as they like to do "checks" when things like this happen (IME).
Company vans..? my rights?? - Altea Ego
Well you have two problems

Legaly, as the driver you are responsible for all traffic offences and contruction & use violations. Ignorance of the law is no defence hence they cant take the rap for you on those specific charges.

However, your employer will now *in addition* be responsible and accountable for any breaches of health and safety with reference to the lack of training and lack of controls.
TourVanMan TM < Ex RF >
Company vans..? my rights?? - Dwight Van Driver
As a driver you are using a vehicle which is overloaded. If present when loaded then there is no mitigation which could be present if loading not in your presence and nothing to suggest otherwise (springs and tyres)

If the purpose of the journey when stopped and weighed was in connection with the business of your employer then they should also be done for "using".

Used to ne normal in such cases to hammer the employer to ensure that he makes sure the drivers comply with the rules irrespective at or away from depot when loading.

Company vans..? my rights?? - Number_Cruncher & use violations.

If the company knew that the van was overloaded either routinely, or specifically in this instance, could they also be in trouble for causing or permitting use of the van?

Company vans..? my rights?? - Altea Ego
Probably, *in addition* to the charges the driver faces.
TourVanMan TM < Ex RF >
Company vans..? my rights?? - local yokel
Even if the driver is not present at the time of loading he/she still has a duty to check the loading manifest/delivery notes etc. to ensure that the vehicle is within weight limits, and that the load is safely secured.

There's no defence for a case like this, just an opportunity for your defence to present a mitigating statement which would include your good driving record, your horror at discovering the fact that you were overloaded, and your committment to checking every time from now on.

Your transport/fleet manager should treat this as an opportunity to implement compulsory driver training, and training for staff who load the vehicles. Next time a vehicle is found overloaded it might be after the accident, not before.

Bear in mind that a vehicle can be loaded within limits, but still be overloaded on one axle, if the load has been badly positioned, or is extremly dense. I can very easily load my 7.5 T within limits for the MAUW, but overloaded on the rear axle.
Company vans..? my rights?? - Dave E
It was over weight.

Depends on so many different things as to where blame is apportioned.

Did you load the vehicle?

If so, did you have access to scales so you could establish what weight you were loading?

Is there a sign in the vehicle indicating what the maximum load is?

Is there adequate signage in the loading area or nearby giving advice regarding loads and weights?

The reason I ask is, all the above occur/are provided at my place of work and drivers still ignore what is laid out in front of them. Short of me loading the vans for them, I could never 100% guarantee they went out safely loaded. So it is all down to individual capability and responsibility. As has already been said the onus of complying with the law is with the driver of the vehicle. If an employer can provide evidence of training and adequate Safe Systems of Work then it falls back to the employee. In your case you can cite lack of training but would that be sufficient?
Company vans..? my rights?? - Murphy The Cat
The reason I ask is, all the above occur/are provided at
my place of work and drivers still ignore what is laid
out in front of them. Short of me loading the vans
for them, I could never 100% guarantee they went out safely
loaded. So it is all down to individual capability and responsibility.

Dave E you've hit the nail on the head. a lot of people are so pig headed, thick and ignorant that they shouldn't be allowed out of their homes unattended - never mind given a van to drive. (not a slur on the OP but a comment of just how thick Joe Worker can be)

Company vans..? my rights?? - local yokel
The company is just about within its rights to leave an employee out to dry. I wouldn't advise it, because everyone else might just leave.

The best solution would be for the management to put its hands up, recognise the problem, pay for the training etc., and pay for the poster to be correctly defended by a good lawyer Meanhwile they should thank their lucky stars that there was no accident, no mum with kid in a pushchair in A+E because the vehicle's brakes could not stop it when overloaded.
Company vans..? my rights?? - AlastairW
Further up the thread someone sugggested the ops employer might be nice and pay his fine - two problems with that:
1. The op would then be taxed on the value of the fine - its a benefit of employment.
2. The employer can't claim tax relief for it in the accounts.
Company vans..? my rights?? - R75
Further up the thread someone sugggested the ops employer might be
nice and pay his fine

It was me, and there are always ways round these things - I once got a fine paid for one of my drivers - just went down as expenses, job done ;o)
Company vans..? my rights?? - Simon
Gaz_p_2001, can you give us a little more info, ie the circumstances in which this occured? That way we may be able to offer you a little more constructive advice of how best to deal with the situation and you and your employers position.
Company vans..? my rights?? - Screwloose

As Simon has asked - more details please: particularly the percentage that you were over the axle or gross weight. In similar circumstances; local delivery companies have been fined so many £hundred for each percent over and the driver gets the same fine and the points/disqualification. Even a small amount of weight can be a sizeable percentage for a small van and can attract a "formula fine" of thousands.

This is no £30-and-three-points minor offence. The penalties are designed to be painful enough to curb cowboy hauliers. Take it seriously and, with your employer, instruct a specialist barrister. There has often been some procedural omission or technicality that he can use to evade conviction.
Company vans..? my rights?? - Wales Forester
A few years ago I briefly worked night shifts doing newspaper sorting & delivering the papers to the newsagents at ungodly o'clock.

As each van exited the depot it was weighed and the resulting figure was shown to the driver on a display. If a van was overweight it was the driver's responsibility to inform a supervisor who would usually get 'a shop' taken off the van.

My point is that on many occasions, I'd go as far as to say at least once on every shift, I would witness other drivers leaving overweight. Sometimes not by much, 10 - 20kg, but other times by as much as 500 - 600kg.
The majority of these vans were driven by owner drivers by the way.....

Occasionally the police would be sitting not far from the depot and would pull any vans which looked a bit heavy.

Company vans..? my rights?? - IanJohnson
Speak to a good lawyer.

We had a driver stopped a couple of years ago in a van that was 10% overweight.

Load had been calculated for a LWB sprinter and because the delivery location had restricted space he switched the load to a shorter van (lower weight limit).

The company told him he was on his own - large fine and points.

Company's defence was that driver had not done as instructed! The view was that the other drivers would learn from his mistake. Bear in mind that if your employer needs an O-License it has to be very careful how it handles prosecutions for overweight vehicles.


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