Drivers and owners must ensure that the construction and all parts and equipment on the vehicle are roadworthy. This includes tyres, steering, brakes and many other parts. Additionally the use to which a vehicle is put can create an offence if the weight of a load or the manner in which the vehicle is loaded is judged to be dangerous.
Those offences can be prosecuted either by a police officer or the Vehicle Operating Service Agency (VOSA).
In cases where your vehicle is involved in a serious accident, then the police or VOSA have their own staff who will give an expert opinion on the alleged defects found.
Whilst there is no general defence, a prosecution could – if necessary – be challenged on a factual basis. For instance, the load you were carrying was not dangerous. However, it may be that we need to instruct our own expert to contradict or comment on the prosecution evidence.
The punishment varies but generally the maximum penalty is a fine of up to £5,000. In addition to this, you can be disqualified or your licence endorsed with 3 penalty points.