Overloading a vehicle can result in some heavyweight legal action – and it’s not just the drivers or vehicle owners who will be liable.
Under the Chain of Responsibility (COR) Legislation, everyone in the transport supply chain shares equal responsibility for ensuring that vehicles comply with the road laws and anyone in that supply chain can be held legally liable for breaches. From company directors, the person or company commissioning the carrying of goods, packers and drivers to the person or entity paying for the goods or taking possession of the load – there are many different people or parties who can be held legally accountable and it’s incumbent on everyone along the ‘chain’ to make sure that breaches don’t occur.
Overloading compromises road safety
The safety risks of transporting an overweight load or an unstable load are significant. For example, braking distances may be longer, the vehicle may be unstable due to cargo being loaded incorrectly, the performance and handling of the vehicle may be affected – and all these issues can increase the risk of an accident and will compromise the safety of drivers and other road users.
What’s more, there are other repercussions of overloading such as accelerated road wear and damage to infrastructure – so it is imperative that anyone involved in the transport of goods ensures that their vehicle loads are safe and that they’re within legal limits.
Importance of accurate vehicle weighing
Reliable and accurate weighing of vehicles is an essential component of COR compliance. By using appropriate equipment such as onboard vehicle weighing systems and weighbridges, drivers and fleet managers can make sure that individual axle loads are within legal limits and that the cargo has been safely loaded.
An added advantage of premium vehicle weighing equipment is that loads are measured accurately quickly but they’re also measured in real time, which enables optimum vehicle loading the first time – and every time. This saves both time and money and improves productivity and operational efficiencies and in the context of COR, it means that vehicles are loaded correctly and safely and won’t transgress the road laws.
Vehicle weighing eliminates guesswork
A vehicle weighing system takes the guesswork out of road transport and will eliminate the chance of COR infringements. A recent case in the NSW Supreme Court where a freight carrier was prosecuted for breach of mass requirements illustrates this point very clearly. The magistrate found that the driver did not take reasonable steps to prevent the contravention and that he had simply relied on the forklift operator’s presumed professionalism and assumed that he was doing his job properly. Clearly, if an onboard weighing system had been in place, there would have been no problems.
An onboard vehicle weighing system eliminates any doubt and provides precise and accurate measurements. They can be fitted to the transport vehicle’s chassis, to its suspension system or to the loading equipment (including a forklift, end loader or crane) and can be fitted to any type of vehicle from a full-length road train to a light commercial vehicle.
Take the situation of a furniture removalist who operates a small business with one 4.5 tonne truck. There’s no way that he can assess the weight of each load because every job is different and there’s no way he can ensure compliance with COR legislation in terms of both gross and axle group mass requirements – unless of course, the truck is fitted with an onboard vehicle weighing system.
If you’re on the chain of responsibility and want to ensure absolute compliance with COR legislation, you should be talking to the experts in onboard vehicle weighing systems, AccuOnboard. There’s absolutely no doubt that vehicle weighing is essential when it comes to COR and as Australia’s leading supplier of onboard vehicle weighing systems and onboard truck scales, we have all the experience and expertise to work out a solution to fit your needs and your budget. Call us to find out more.