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Survey of Van drivers by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles shows overloading vehicles is still very common

Almost half (48%) of UK van drivers admitted that they overloaded their vans last year*, according to a survey by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.

This figure is despite 89% of drivers claiming to know the legal weight restriction for their light commercial vehicle (LCV)*.

Overloading your vehicle by as much as 30% of its gross vehicle weight could lead to a fine of up to £300, meaning the nation’s van drivers are risking a combined £703 million** in penalties. Anything above 30% overloaded and offenders may even be issued with a court summons and a custodial sentence in the most serious cases***.  

The survey found that 66% of young people (aged 18-24) had driven their van overloaded in the year, followed by 63% of over 65 year olds.

Additionally, the survey showed that carpenters are the tradespeople most likely to overload their vans (63%); closely followed by builders (60%), electricians (55%) and painter decorators (55%).

Overloading penalties
In the UK, the maximum gross vehicle weight for an LCV is 3.5 tonnes (3,500kg), rising to 4.25 tonnes (4,250kg) for an alternatively-fuelled vehicle, such as an all-electric ID. Buzz.

Percentage overweight
(of gross vehicle weight)
Penalty charge
5 – 9.99% £100 fine
10 – 14.99%£200 fine
15 – 29.99%£300 fine
Over 30%Court summons

A DVSA spokesperson said:
 “DVSA’s priority is to protect everyone from unsafe drivers and vehicles. It is the driver’s responsibility to ensure their vehicle is safe to drive. They should make sure they know the maximum permitted gross vehicle weight and limits on each axle of their vehicle.

“We take enforcement action against drivers and operators who risk people’s lives by overloading or not securely loading their vehicles. Our accessible online guidance provides everyone with the information they need to load their vehicle safely and avoid risking the lives of other road users.”

It is essential that drivers know and adhere to the DVSA’s regulations, purchasing the right-sized van in order to minimise the risk of overloading vehicles.

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles’ ‘Working With You’ promise supports customers throughout the entire vehicle purchasing process, including the selection of the correct van for business requirements. This is available across the entire Van Centre network of 60 sites and 30 Authorised Repairers in the UK.

The Volkswagen Commercial Vehicle range is fitted with a range of technologies that help ensure the vehicle can be operated safely, such as Tyre Pressure Monitoring System which will indicate whether or not all tyres are correctly inflated when carrying heavy loads. Technologies such as Lane Keep Assist and Park Assist will protect occupants when operating the vehicle.

Further guidance from the DVSA can be found below: 

* Results are taken from OnePoll survey of 1,000 van drivers in the UK, conducted in January 2023, commissioned by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.
** Cost of UK van drivers at risk of paying a fine of up to £300 is calculated by: Highest fine fee payable (£300), multiplied by 48% of the motorparc of vans driving on UK roads (2023 SMMT data): £300 x (0.48 x 4,887,593) = £703,813,392
*** According to the latest DVSA regulations; see section 10 in the Enforcement sanctions policy: Enforcement sanctions policy (
 Department for Transport, Changes to licence requirements for Alternatively Fuelled Vehicles: Changes to licence requirements for alternatively fuelled vehicles (




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