Overloading has been recognised as both a safety and a cost concern. Economic growth demands an adequate transport infrastructure. Overloaded vehicles, especially freight vehicles, destroy roads, and have a negative impact on economic growth – and the damage caused grows exponentially as the load increases. Damage to roads as a result of overloading leads to higher maintenance and repair costs and shortens the life of a road, which in turn places an additional burden on the state, as well as law abiding road users who ultimately carry the costs of careless and inconsiderate overloading. If we can’t control the problem of overloading, this cost has to be carried by the road user, which will require significant increases in road user charges, such as:
- fuel levies
- vehicle license fees, and
- overloading fees (to mention just a few).
Overloading is a safety hazard that leads to unnecessary loss of life, and also the rapid deterioration of the roads, resulting in increased maintenance and transportation costs.
Let’s take a look at the risks to road safety that overloading poses
An overloaded vehicle will not only cause damage to roads and to your vehicle but will also put your drivers and other road users at risk. Overloading a vehicle:
- makes the vehicle less stable, difficult to steer and it takes longer to stop. Vehicles react differently when the maximum weights they are designed to carry are exceeded. The consequences of this can be fatal
- puts massive strain on vehicle tyres. Overloading can cause the tyres to overheat and wear rapidly, which increases the chance of premature, dangerous and expensive failure (such as blow outs)
- means insurance cover is void. Overloading a vehicle is illegal and insurance cover can therefore be void if the vehicle is involved in a crash
- causes excessive wear and damage to roads, bridges, and pavements at the expense of the tax payer
- is unfair on other operators. Exceeding weight limits is unfair competition
- incurs severe penalties. Why pay a fine that is completely avoidable?
- diminishes a driver’s control and operating space. This escalates the chance of an accident
- makes the vehicle’s brakes work harder. This is because the driver is ‘riding the brakes’ as a result of the vehicle being heavier
- weakens the vehicle’s suspension
- often results in passengers driving without seat belts (to pack in as many people as possible)
- increases fuel consumption, which will increase your costs
- increases maintenance costs on a vehicle (tyres, brakes, shock absorbers and higher fuel consumption).