The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) in the UK has been given more power to tackle overloaded vehicles in a bid to improve road safety.

VOSA inspectors will now be able to stop and check vehicles that may pose a threat to road safety, or are suspected to be overloaded or breaking operating or driving hours rules.

UK Transport Secretary Philip Hammond said the new powers will free up police time as the VOSA will be able to operate more independently.

The VOSA is also expected to enforce new cabotage rules, which will monitor the amount of UK domestic work hauliers from outside the UK can undertake.

The new powers will also allow VOSA officers in Scotland the authority to independently stop commercial vehicles for the first time.

The planned changes will also include new measures allowing the VOSA chief executive to authorise inspectors to stop vehicles rather than wait to get accreditation from individual police forces.