Weight restriction orders make it an offence to drive a vehicle through the restricted area where the vehicle exceeds the weight limit imposed unless they are delivering or collecting within the weight restriction.
The police and the Trading Standards Service can enforce weight restriction orders under the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984. In Oxfordshire, routine inspections are made across the county to ensure that vehicles are not breaking these orders.
Weight restriction orders are intended to
- protect old or weak bridges and structures
- bar heavy vehicles from areas unsuitable for their size or if they pose a danger, for example narrow village roads, adjoining schools.
Round up of enforcement work undertaken in 2017
- Vehicles identified by Trading Standards enforcement officers: 54
- Public reports of HGVs in weight restriction areas: 150
- Enforcement checks by enforcement officers at weight restriction sites: 34
- Warning letters to drivers found in breach of weight restrictions: 55
- Decisions to prosecute so far: 26
- No further action (typically because the HGV has a destination inside the weight restriction): 70
- Wrong registration provided so no action possible: 9
- Investigation still in progress: 44
- Repeat offenders identified: 2
- Church Enstone
- Tadpole Bridge
- Whitchurch on Thames
- West Hagbourne
- Sutton Courtenay
- Clifton Hampden
Cases in court
In addition to this new investigative work, a number of drivers were prosecuted based upon earlier investigation work, with their cases in the Magistrates Court between January and April 2017.
Two drivers were convicted of breaching weight restrictions at Charlbury and Newbridge. One driver received an absolute discharge and the other was fined £300.
Five drivers were convicted of breaching weight restrictions in Church Enstone, Newbridge and Watlington. Fines ranged from £500 to £600 per offence.
One driver was convicted of breaching the weight restriction at Church Enstone and was fined £400.
Eight drivers were convicted of breaching weight restrictions at Launston, Church Enstone, Warborough, Watlington and Charlbury. Fines ranged from £400 to £700 per offence.
The council was awarded costs against all the convicted drivers to reflect some of the work involved in dealing with each breach. A victim surcharge of 10% of the fine was also imposed upon each driver.
One driver was convicted of breaching a weight restriction at Church Enstone and was fined £100.
Six drivers were convicted of breaching weight restrictions at Newbridge, Charlbury and Church Enstone. Fines ranged from £200 to £500 per offence.
Four drivers were convicted of breaching weight restrictions at Newbridge, Church Enstone, West Hagbourne and Garsington. Fines ranged from £300 to £460 per offence.
Five drivers were convicted of breaching weight restrictions at Newbridge, Watlington, West Hagbourne and Stanton Harcourt. Fines ranged from £280 to £1,000 per offence.
The use of ANPR cameras at Newbridge
Newbridge is a listed ancient monument which is subject to an 18 tonnes maximum gross weight restriction which applies to all vehicles, not just HGVs. Installing cameras will enable Trading Standards to identify every overweight vehicle that crosses the bridge.
New cameras and improved signs, along with active enforcement will protect the bridge from unnecessary and expensive damage.
During 2017, new signs, to assist drivers in avoiding the bridge, have been added to the extensive range of signs which were already in place.
During September 2017, 83 written warnings were issues to the keepers of vehicles which had been seen to cross the bridge by the ANPR cameras. Future enforcement will include the option of prosecuting those who drive or cause or permit a vehicle to cross the bridge in contravention of the weight restriction order.
Further details about the use of the cameras can be obtained at 01865 815000. If you have a complaint about the use of the cameras please use our complaints procedure.
Advice for drivers of heavy vehicles
- the driver of the vehicle is liable for the offence. The company could also be responsible as the user of the vehicle.
- if your vehicle is seen breaching a weight restriction you may be prosecuted. The maximum fine is £1,000. The council will also seek to recover prosecution costs.
How to avoid breaching a weight restriction order
- know the plated weight and individual axle weights for your vehicle
- plan your route in advance to avoid weight restricted areas, guidance can be found here
- ensure that you display any exemption permit that may be applicable to your journey
- following satnav advice does not create a defence acceptible in law.
Know what weight restriction signs mean
|No vehicles over maximum gross weight shown (in tonnes)||No goods vehicles over maximum gross weight shown|
|Except for access to premises or land adjacent to the road within the weight restriction zone, where there is no other route. Other exemptions may be shown e.g. “Except for Loading”|
Finding out the maximum gross weight and axle weights of your vehicle
The maximum permitted gross and the axle weights of your vehicle can be found listed on 'plates', which must be fitted to all vehicles and certain trailers. These will either be a manufacturer's plate or a Department of Transport plate and are usually located either in the cabin or under the bonnet of vehicles or on the chassis of trailers. The weights are given in metric units of kilograms (kg).
Advice for residents
Reporting breaches of weight restrictions in your area
We are working with Neighbourhood Watch groups to protect Oxfordshire's roads and bridges and safeguard local communities. You can use the online form below to report breaches.
In the interest of your safety, under no circumstances should you attempt to follow or stop any vehicle. Mobile telephones should not be used for any purpose whilst you are in control of a motor vehicle including taking pictures.