SMMT warns against overloading vans as their UK total reaches 4 million

SMMT warns against overloading vans as their UK total reaches 4 million

5 May 2016

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has warned that van drivers overloading their vehicles could be negating safety technology advances in the commercial vehicle sector. During 2015, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) weighed 2,381 vans and found that 88.5% were overloaded compared to 84% the previous year.

Late April 2016 saw the Commercial Vehicle (CV) Show held at Birmingham’s NEC and van manufacturers were keen to showcase their latest technology, from parking aids and camera systems to safety enhancements such as advanced collision warning systems, autonomous emergency braking and hands-free door-opening functionality for easier loading and unloading.

“Manufacturers are investing significant amounts in new safety technology, but this can only do part of the job”, comments SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes. HGV operators are bound by strictly-enforced legislation regarding safe loading, but such laws do not extend to commercial vehicles weighing less than 3.5 tonnes, hence encompassing the majority of vans driven by CIS members and other contractors in hands-on industries.

The SMMT and DVSA work together closely in a bid to keen burdensome regulation of light vans to a minimum and Mr Hawes says his organisation continues “to urge operators and owners to comply with the law to keep themselves and others safe, avoid the risk of fines and keep the threat of further legislation at bay.”

A useful video guide has been provided by the DVSA to help van drivers including contractors to make sure that their commercial vehicles meet weight regulations and are safely loaded, whether fully laden or relatively empty. The SMMT has also published beneficial advice on how to best maintain small vans.

The warnings come at a time when the SMMT’s Motorparc data reveals that the number of vans in the UK has exceeded 4 million for the first time, standing at 4,007,331, which is a 4.3% increase on 2015 levels. New van registrations have reached record levels, Q1 2016 seeing 1.2% growth. “Commercial vehicles have never been more important to the British economy, transporting vital goods and services using the latest low emission technology”, Mike Hawes comments.

Benefitting the environment and public health, as well as reducing fuel bills for small businesses and larger fleets, all vans from September 2016 will meet the latest Euro-6 emissions standards.

For advice on the best small van for you as a contractor, from crew vans and panel vans to dropsides and 4x4 pickup trucks, contact Umbrella’s partners, Vehicle Consulting of Manchester, who are experts in commercial vehicle leasing.