If a vehicle is dangerously overloaded the driver could face a charge of Dangerous Driving which carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison.
Overloading puts massive strain on vehicle tyres and makes the vehicle less stable, difficult to steer and take longer to stop – the consequences can be fatal.
To ensure that your vehicles are never overloaded you should:
- Know the weights of your vehicles
- Know what you are carrying and the weight of the load
- Do not automatically trust declared weights, invoices or delivery notes given to you by customers
- Distribute your load appropriately to avoid overloading axles
- Check the Gross Vehicle Weight before setting out
Ensuring a vehicle is converted correctly is also vital.
There are a number of factors that need to be considered prior to any vehicle conversion – how the vehicle is going to be used, including the working environment and the payload of the goods and equipment it is carrying. Crucially, organisations also need to make sure staff are equipped with the knowledge they need to operate the vehicle and on-board equipment.
Fitting crash tested storage equipment, such as racking, and including a bulk head in the vehicle helps improve driver safety.
Getting the vehicle specification correct at the outset and ensuring it is converted correctly can save businesses time and money and provides a safe working environment for staff.
- VEHICLE MOST FIT FOR PURPOSE Reviewing the fleet make-up and what the vehicle is being used for, prior to considering vehicle fit out, can often mean there are options to use alternative vehicles. Perhaps using a pick-up instead of a van means the driver can get closer to the worksite is less likely to get stuck and the vehicle is less likely to get damaged.
- FORWARD PLANNING Identify suppliers who will help you plan your fleet requirements ahead of time. By anticipating the reuse of racking and other equipment you can work out your lifetime funding costs and determine which finance plan will best suit your business.
- COST-SAVING ADVICE Having correctly specified vehicles is critical to the efficiency and productivity of a business. A supplier who will help and advise on how to get the right conversion and fittings for your vehicles will ensure the most appropriate layout for the vehicle which will deliver operational cost savings.
- CUSTOMISED RACKING Fitting customised racking can save time and money. Not only can staff quickly find the right tools for a job, but working with the right supplier means a design that maximises storage capacity. Also provides the opportunity to review whether downsizing some of the fleet to smaller vans is also feasible.
- TURNKEY SOLUTIONS Consider suppliers who can provide turnkey conversions as this leads to a more efficient handover and finance process. One order/one invoice is the ideal scenario especially when looking to finance and/or fleet manage the vehicles. If the van is bought with finance, incorporating the cost of the racking into the monthly payments simplifies the budgeting and administrative process.
- KEY-TO-KEY HANDOVERS A supplier who can provide a one-stop-shop speeds up the conversion process. From having the vehicle ordered and delivered to the fit out centre and, once complete, delivered to desired location or a key-for-key handover, ensures a more streamlined service and minimal downtime for the fleet.
- TRANSFERRING EQUIPMENT It’s important to discuss your options thoroughly with your provider from the outset, especially if you are financing the vehicle and conversion as a single package. If you intend to transfer the equipment to another vehicle at the end of contract, understand the implications and costs of transferring to another vehicle, including any repairs or refurbishment charges.
- LIFESPAN EXPECTATIONS Vehicle and product lifecycles can play a big part in managing conversion costs. A quality modular racking system, for example, might remain serviceable over the vehicle’s lifetime and could be used in two or more successive vehicles. You could expect to get up to 10 years of use from some equipment.
- KEY CONSIDERATIONS Payload, productivity and the impact on vehicle performance should be key considerations when determining your equipment specifications. Systems that increase payload, save fuel and enhance your employee’s efficiency will make valuable investments. Choosing higher-end, modular fit outs means they can be reconfigured if your requirements change.
- RISKS OF BUILDING YOUR OWN Many commercial vehicle fleets are used as mobile toolboxes and you may have skilled workforces who build their own racking systems. This can prove costly and unproductive as well as leading to health, safety and warranty issues. Although it can seem a cost-effective option, the business and risk to the driver should be taken into consideration.
You can download further information and whitepapers using the links below:
Plug-in vans – https://www.venson.com/Media/ViewWhitePaper/34
Plug-in vehicle recharging – https://www.venson.com/Media/ViewWhitePaper/35
Clean Air Zones – https://www.venson.com/Media/ViewWhitePaper/33
Procuring Fleet – https://www.venson.com/Media/ViewWhitePaper/30