One of the most common questions the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency receives is whether a vehicle or trailer should be laden or unladen when brake tested. The body is reissuing advice for operators on how to present their vehicles in unladen or laden condition.
Vehicles must be laden for testing – ideally to 65% of their total maximum weight. The agency recommendation is that the vehicle should be loaded by the operator, if possible. If the operator is unable t0 do this, they will need to arrange for someone else to do it.
Some ATF’s offer this facility. They can inform the vehicle owner in advance if the do and how much it will cost.
Another commonly asked question is whether there are any vehicles that this doesn’t apply to. The answer is yes, as there are some vehicle that can’t be presented laden. This could be due to basic design limitation or other restrictions.
The DVSA offers literature on these brake testing procedures in the ‘Conditions for testing when unladed’ section in the best practice guide for heavy vehicle brake testing. Try-axle semi-trailers on the other hand, can be tested unladen. This is because it can be difficult to get a load for these trailers.
Ref – News & Views, CVW Magazine July/August 2017
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