Anglia UK Anglia UK

Vehicle Transportation Legal Safety Checklist


A guide to checking your instructed supplier is transporting vehicles legally


How to check your instructed supplier is operating legally


The issue of overloading vehicles, in particular 3.5T 
recovery trucks, is a growing concern in the UK with police forces imposing large fines and investigating illegal operators. The reason it’s illegal is because an overweight vehicle is incredibly dangerous and may invalidate your insurance. If you use a third party for vehicle transportation and the 
cost of the service seems too good to be true, then it probably is.  Why does this matter?  Well, if your supplier is involved in a fatal collision, not only is this an avoidable tragedy, but as the instructing client not only can your business be imposed fines, there is lasting damage to your brand reputation for opting for a policy with wilful blindness. In this guide our team of Anglia UK experts share their top tips on how to make sure your chosen supplier is operating legally and the key questions you should be asking them.


What are the dangers of an overloaded vehicle?

How do I check my supplier is safe and compliant? An overloaded vehicle not only causes damage to roads and the vehicle but also puts drivers and other road users at risk. When the maximum weights which vehicles are designed to carry are exceeded, the consequences can be fatal, such as:



LEGAL IMPLICATIONS: As the instructing client, any overloaded vehicles fall under the Senior Management & Certification Regime (SMCR), including claims against the client for wilful blindness.






VOID INSURANCE: Overloading a vehicle is illegal and therefore insurance cover is likely to be void if it’s involved in a collision.






INCREASED EMISSIONS: It’s not just drivers at risk. Studies have proven that overloading a vehicle results in a significant increase in the amount of CO2 emissions that are released when driving, which then puts into question the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility. This can impact local air quality, increasing the harmful pollutants that affect vulnerable groups.






REDUCED CONTROL: Vehicles become less stable due to uneven weight distribution, are more difficult to steer and overloading an axle significantly increases stopping distances.






INCREASED WEAR AND TEAR: Puts massive strain on vehicle brakes and tyres, which causes both to overheat and wear rapidly, increasing the risk of blow outs.  It also causes increased wear and damage to roads, bridges and pavements at great cost to the tax payer.




NOTE: The load can be seized and compounded by the police if found to be overloaded, delaying the time to delivery to remarketing site, plus including any additional costs of recovery.


How do I check my supplier is safe and compliant?

There are a number of questions you should be asking your supplier, and we have pulled together this handy checklist to help you identify if they are meeting the highest professional and safety standards.  At the very least your supplier should possess the correct licensing, including a valid Goods Vehicle Operator’s Licence (O-Licence).

What is an O-Licence?

An O-Licence is required to carry goods in/on any vehicle 
where the maximum weight of all items (transporter, driver, fuel & payload) exceeds 3,500kgs

Our industry knowledge suggests this generally is when you need to carry a vehicle (payload) of more than 1,500kgs, as 3.5T transporters typically weigh approx. 2,000kgs (and that’s before the fuel, tool and driver weights are included).

Holding an O-Licence also means the fleet operator has to undertake/have the following:

  • A company of good repute
  • Regular 6-weekly maintenance and inspections on vehicles and trailers 
  • An operating centre  
  • Checks on driver hours, abiding to EU drivers’ hours regulations
  • Ensure drivers licences cover the vehicle being driven including valid professional competence qualification   
  • Driver infringement checks including tacho review 
  • Good financial standing

Make sure your supplier adheres to the above criteria.




Use this simple calculation to calculate the Maximum Payload:



How do I calculate a vehicle’s unladen / kerb weight?

  • If the V5 is available – “Section G: Mass in Service” will show the vehicle kerb weight listed in kilograms
  • Run a Google search for [vehicle make and model] kerb weight 

How do I check if my supplier has enough O-Licenced vehicles to meet my needs?

Our wealth of experience within the Industry suggests a minimum of 15-20 vehicles with an O-Licence are required to operate nationwide. If in doubt, ask your instructing supplier to list the registration numbers of their vehicles and the total carrying capacity of each vehicle.



This can be printed by your supplier from their Good Operators Licence dashboard. For example, Anglia UK operates a fleet of 28 vehicles all of which have a gross vehicle weight of 5,000kgs (increased to a total train weight of 8,000kgs utilising a trailer), allowing for a maximum individual payload of 2,550kgs or a maximum combined payload of 4,300kgs.


How can I tell if vehicles are being collected and moved legally?

  • Check if the vehicle being collected has a valid MOT certificate, by following the government’s online portal here.
  • If the vehicle has a valid MOT certificate, ask:
    • Was this driven, check the odometer readings between collection and delivery.
    • If placed on a truck follow the same steps as below.
  • If the vehicle does not hold a valid MOT certificate, ask:
    • How all vehicles over 1,500kgs are being transported by your instructed supplier, these must be moved on a transporter regulated by an O-Licence.
    • If these have been moved by an approved sub-contracted supplier, you should be provided with additional invoices to support this, along with a GDPR agreement.  Remember to check the sub contracted supplier has a valid O-Licence.


Please Note: If a vehicle does not hold a valid MOT Certificate it cannot be driven on the road with trade plates, and if being towed all wheels of the vehicle must be off the road.




What if...?

  • Your instructed supplier does not have an O-Licence and is unable to provide any external invoices to support this vehicle was moved on a legal transporter by an approved sub-contracted supplier with an O-Licence
  • Your instructed supplier loaded an overweight vehicle (anything above 1,500kgs) on a transporter that is only legally authorised to carry a total combined weight of 3,500kgs
  • Your instructed supplier drove a vehicle without a valid MOT Certificate from a customer’s property to your desired location


In the unfortunate situation you find one of the above outcomes has occurred, it is advisable to review how your heavy vehicles are transported and ensure these are moved by a transporter with a Vehicle Operator Goods Licence / O-Licence.








How can Anglia UK help?

With almost 25 years’ experience, 
Anglia UK – which has an O Licence – 
is committed to driving innovation and
standards within the Distress Management
and Motor Finance support sector. 
Today, Anglia has a portfolio of specialist
services for finance providers including
commercial auditing, credit management,
vehicle transportation and responsive
repossession solutions for automotive and
mobile assets using its fleet of multi-vehicle

If you’d like the backing of our expert team,
simply give us a call on 01775 713322 and
our team will be happy to discuss your
vehicle credit management needs. Or drop
us an email and we’ll call you back at a
time that suits you.