The Dangers of Overloading a HGV

Due to the dangers it presents, it is a criminal offence to exceed a mass limit on a heavy vehicle.

Overloaded heavy vehicles:

Affect the safety of drivers and all road users

  • They are a major cause of crashes that result in injuries and fatalities.
  • Even minimal overloading affects heavy vehicle stability, so the vehicle takes longer to stop after braking.

Chain of Responsibility. It’s everyone’s business.

The NHVR’s Chain of Responsibility (CoR) provisions, which were incorporated into the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) in 2013, mean that anyone controlling or influencing heavy vehicle operations, not just drivers, has to comply with the law.

Drivers, loaders, packers, weighbridge staff, consignors, managers, and senior executives are responsible for preventing overloading, if they influence the mass of the vehicle or its load.

On 1 October 2018, the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL), and associated Chain of Responsibility (CoR) provisions, was amended to provide that every party in the heavy vehicle transport supply chain has a primary duty to ensure the safety of their transport activities. In practical terms, this primary duty represents an obligation to eliminate or minimise potential harm or loss (risk) by doing all that is reasonably practicable to ensure safety by having systems in place to address heavy vehicle safety. Far too many road transport supply chains are rife with safety and operational risks, with heavy goods vehicle overloading chief among these risks.

The practical aspects of this Primary Duty include the need for each party to identify, monitor and manage risk using controls, practices and technologies.

Therefore, everyone in the supply chain must ensure that systems are in place to address heavy vehicle safety. The NHVR’s recent update states, ‘The new guidelines will be exacting, robust and demanding to assure the Regulator and all road-users that regulatory compliance and safety risks are being appropriately addressed.’

Which leads us to the subject of mass management and overloading…and the sound reasons why the safe & legal loading of HGVs needn’t be based on guesswork!

Avoid overloading fines | Maximise payloads | Reduce WH&S Risk

So, it’s time to look into the mass management controls available to your business as part of its safety regime.

Considering that heavy goods vehicle (HGV) overloading and unequal load distribution are chief safety risks in any road transport operation, Diverseco technical experts were called upon to write the Ultimate Guide to Vehicle Weighing Systems to describe the range of mass management controls that road transport organisations can include in their safety regimes to prevent breaches of CoR laws. This guide is designed to help industry stakeholders within organisations operating with road transport supply chains to measure up to the new Chain of Responsibility mass management laws by providing:

  • Insights into the range of vehicle weighing devices at their disposal
  • Information about their relative features, functions and benefits

By integrating technologies – such as a weigh bridge, axle weigher and weigh-in-motion system – into your company’s Safety Management System, you can easily manage, monitor and control the risks associated with overloading.

These essential aids to mass management and equal load distribution provide drivers with the knowledge they need, security they deserve and will keep your company with National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) CoR requirements and demands of good practice.

What If Your Business Isn’t Chain of Responsibility Ready?

Under the new HVNL, maximum penalties have been dramatically increased.

For instance, the maximum penalty for a corporation is $3 million, while for individuals (such as company executives), it is $300,000 and up to five years in jail. Courts will also have discretionary rights. They will be able to disqualify an individual from owning or operating a business that is in any way related to transport or logistics and place an entire company under NHVR-facilitated perf

Breach Category Ammount of Overload Maximum Penalty
Minor Risk Less than 0.5MT or 105% of the maximum permitted mass (whichever is higher) $4,260
Substantial Risk Between 105% and 120% of the maximum permitted mass $6,400
Severe Risk 120% of more of the maximum permitted mass $10,650 plus an additional maximum $350 for every additional 1% over a 120% overload (but so that the additional maximum penalty does not exceed $21,320)
A corporation can be fined up to $157,450
Severe Risk 120% of more of the maximum permitted mass As of mid-2018, penalties for breaches of primary duty are similar to those under worplace health and safety laws, set at:
A maximum fine of $3 million for a corporation
$300,000 or five years imprisonment, or both, for a person