With more new vans registered each year, joining already heavily-congested roads, driver and road-user safety has never been more important for fleet operators – particularly for urban-focused van fleets.
But, with DVSA figures showing 93% of 10,000 vans stopped in 2015 were overloaded, it seems the safety implications of carrying additional weight are not always fully realised.
Now, in a move it hopes will improve driver safety by ensuring full-compliance with load restrictions – even on multi-drop routes – Bestway, the UK's largest independent cash-and-carry wholesaler has installed Axtec OnBoard Load Indicators across its entire fleet of 350 vans to tackle the issue of accidental overloading.
Faye Laws, one of a team of Bestway Transport Managers says, "We operate from 63 locations nationwide, which is a lot of vehicles servicing a very complicated logistics schedule. Ensuring each van is fully-compliant with loading limits is vital to the safety of our drivers and, importantly, other road-users."
Axtec's simple dashboard system provides drivers with clear visual and audible warnings of any potential overload situations, which can arise as goods are progressively loaded or unloaded – even if the vehicle is well within its legal gross weight limit. Cheshire-based Axtec, the UK commercial vehicle industry's only company specialising in axle weighing, is able to fit the OnBoard Load Indicator in around two hours, making it a cost-effective and maintenance free solution for fleets, without requiring any additional driver training.
The system is activated when the ignition is switched on and it cannot be disabled or tampered with, delivering the information as a vehicle infographic with a simulated load using a traffic light system – green, amber and red – as an overload situation approaches. An audible warning also sounds to alert the driver to a potential problem.
"The Axtec system," says Faye, "means drivers can easily check the vehicle is within both individual axle- and gross-weight limits, and, therefore, rectify any weight issues before the van or truck becomes non-compliant – we never have to worry about the vehicles being overloaded."
She adds, "Correctly-weighted loads will mean a reduction in unnecessary costs which occur as a result of over-loading, including a reduction in wear-and-tear on critical components such as brakes, clutch, steering and suspension, and of course better load-bearing will improve fuel economy."
Derek Hack, Sales Manager at Axtec, describes the on-board system as a useful mechanism to help fleets become more efficient, "It's just as important to maximise the load on vans as it is a larger vehicle," says Hack, "yet this need to maximise load commonly leads to inadvertent overloading. With pressures on fleets to deliver cost-effective solutions it is no wonder DVSA are pulling in more and more vans only to find they're overloaded."
He says, "Axtec's On Board Load Indicator removes this threat, helps keep the drivers safe and legal, and, from a commercial perspective, boosts productivity by reducing running costs."
Faye Laws, adds, "With the emphasis that we place on health and safety, especially road-safety compliance, the Axtec On-Board proves an invaluable piece of kit. We rely on Axtec as a checking measure to ensure vehicles don't become overloaded."
With 25 years of experience in axle weighing technology, Axtec is regarded as the industry leader in its field. The only UK company specialising exclusively in axle weighing, Axtec designs and manufactures the most accurate equipment on the market. From its Runcorn manufacturing facility, huge investment goes into research and development of new technologies, software testing, fabrication, construction and installation. As a result, Axtec can provide a full support service for its customers, regardless of size of fleet or axle configuration of their vehicles.