The wide variety of onboard vehicle weighing systems on the market today, coupled with the new legislative framework, can make the whole subject of vehicle weighing a bit confusing.
Here are some things about vehicle weighing that you may not be aware of, but which can have a significant impact on the outcome of a situation. It’s really worthwhile taking a moment to read through this article and make sure that you’re familiar with everything.
Firstly, let’s look at the question of vehicle weights.
Surprisingly, some people don’t realise that the plating certificate displays the vehicle weights in kilograms. This can be confusing especially if the vehicle has been imported from a country which still uses the imperial system of measurement as opposed to metric because the weights will then be displayed in pounds.
To avoid confusion, when it comes to choosing vehicle weighing systems, it is worthwhile finding one that displays the weight in kilograms so that the units of measurement are the same and the information is consistent.
Another area where confusion often arises is in the difference between Aggregate Trailer Mass (ATM) and Gross Trailer Mass (GTM). Some people use these terms interchangeably, but there is a crucial difference which has to be taken into consideration when it comes to vehicle weighing and regulatory compliance.
The maximum weight of a trailer is referred to as ATM which is the combined weight of the trailer and its full load when it is not hitched to a vehicle. GTM is the weight of the trailer fully loaded in its actual towing condition (ie the weight of the fully loaded trailer imposed on the trailer’s axle when it is coupled to the tow vehicle) and this measurement will always be lower than the ATM. This is due to the fact that some of the trailer weight is always transferred to the vehicle towing the trailer once the trailer has been hitched up.
Would you rely on the declared weight of your consignment? Do you trust someone else with the responsibility of weighing the load?
Chain of Responsibility Compliance
Failure to abide by road safety regulations, including exceeding the maximum permitted loads, may result in financial penalties, refusal of an insurance claim in the event of an accident and the possibility of legal action. The recently introduced Chain of Responsibility (COR) legislation adds a whole new dimension to compliance as well, and anyone involved along the logistics and transport chain can be held responsible for legal breaches.
Even though there are so many weighing options available including the convenient and highly accurate onboard truck scales and onboard vehicle weighing systems, some people still rely on others to provide this crucial information. Would you?
Just consider these negative consequences of overloading a vehicle:
- Safety is compromised and drivers, passengers and other road users are put at risk
- All the components of the vehicle are negatively affected including brakes, suspension, tyres, clutch and the steering column
- Fuel consumption increases
- Premature wear and tear leads to increased maintenance and service costs
- Useful life of the vehicle can be shortened
- Insurance can be invalid
- Incorrectly loaded vehicles can damage the road infrastructure
At first glance, overloading a vehicle may look like a good idea. Fewer trips, less fuel, time savings, faster turnaround of assets – but in reality, the opposite is true. It’s not only false economy to overload a vehicle because of all the costly ramifications, it’s unsafe and illegal and those should be the primary reasons not to do it. Ever.
That’s why onboard vehicle weighing systems play such a valuable role. They’re reliable, accurate, convenient and easy to use – and they leave no room for error. Of course, operators need to know their vehicle’s limits and must ensure that the units of measurement on their plating certificate match those of their onboard truck scales so that there is no confusion.
If you have any questions about vehicle weighing or want to know which onboard vehicle weighing system is best suited to your needs, have a chat to the experts at Diverseco.