According to recent DfT figures, van miles traveled have increased 71% since 1996. And over the same period, the number of licensed vans has also grown by well over 70%.
Much of this is down to the way we do our shopping now – every item ordered on the internet has to be delivered somehow.
But some of the growth is down to some companies using vans for the same task they used to use smaller trucks.
You can drive a van on an ordinary car licence which means no expensive driver training is required. Other factors such as the absence of regulations covering the hours a van driver can do and road-worthiness testing all make a van an attractive proposition.
Sometimes though, the lack of ‘professionalism’ of the driver can lead to overloading issues. So too can the actual objective of trying to do with a smaller vehicle, which is less costly to operate, what used to be done with a larger one.
In many instances, an overload is caused by lack of knowledge. Ignorance about the carrying capacity or how placing too much at the front or rear can overload an individual axle can cause an operator to inadvertently break the law.
The handling capabilities of an overloaded vehicle can be severely affected. Stopping distances can increase, extra pressure is put on the tyres and suspension and fuel consumption will increase.
|Axtec Static Axle Weighbridge - but is it right for your task?|
Expensive as those all are to a business, the consequences of an overloaded vehicle being involved in an accident could be catastrophic.
There are a range of solutions to prevent this inadvertent overloading, the best one dependent upon the application.
Vans on multi-drop work may benefit from an OnBoardIndicator in the cab constantly monitoring front and rear weights. An operator whose vehicles are basically mobile tool boxes might find a set of
Portable Weighpadsfor doing spot checks or driver training useful. A permanent Axle Weighbridgewould be a good option where full loads are being delivered.
With a wide range of potential solutions, impartial advice is vital and at Axtec, that advice comes free of charge.