A new survey by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles in the UK has found that almost half (48%) of van drivers there admitted that they overloaded their vans last year.
This figure is despite 89 per cent of the 1,000 van UK drivers surveyed claiming to know the legal weight restriction for their light commercial vehicle (LCV).
The survey also found that 66 per cent of young people (aged 18-24) had driven their van overloaded in the year, followed by 63 per cent of over 65 year olds.
Carpenters are the tradespeople most likely to overload their vans (63%); closely followed by builders (60%), electricians (55%) and painter decorators (55%), according to the survey.
In Ireland, it is an offence to drive an overloaded vehicle. The driver of an overweight vehicle risks receiving penalty points and a fixed charge, while the owner of the vehicle will receive a summons to court for the offence.
On conviction, the courts can then impose on the owner of the vehicle a class C fine up to €2,500, a prison sentence or both. Where convicted, the vehicle owner may also have further penalties payable to the appropriate local authority.
The maximum gross vehicle weight for an LCV is 3.5 tonnes (3,500kg), rising to 4.25 tonnes (4,250kg) for an alternatively-fuelled vehicle
The Volkswagen Commercial Vehicle range is fitted with a range of technologies that help ensure the vehicle can be operated safely, such as Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) which will indicate whether or not all tyres are correctly inflated when carrying heavy loads.
Technologies such as Lane Keep Assist and Park Assist will protect occupants when operating the vehicle.