DVSA vehicle

Keeping Us Safe - The Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA)

As an agency of the UK Department of Transport, the DVSA’s main slogan is

"Keeping you safe on British roads."

They promise to

  • Help people through a lifetime of safe driving
  • Help people keep their vehicles safe to drive
  • Protect people from unsafe drivers and vehicles

Every single person who travels on British roads is affected by DVSA legislation and is safer as a result.

What are the DVSA responsible for?

  • The Highway Code
  • The training and employment of driving instructors
  • Theory and practical driving tests for all vehicles both private and commercial
  • Legislation and rehabilitation schemes for drink drivers
  • HGV driver, coach and bus qualifications
  • MOT and repair licensing for garages and repair centres
  • Routine checks on vehicles and their drivers to ensure they are safe
  • Road safety and road awareness schemes

What does this mean commercially?

DVSA officers and the Police have the legal right to pull over any lorry, van, coach, bus or car. They are permitted to carry out spot checks and issue the relevant penalties for a myriad of offences. The checks are carried out either at the roadside or at dedicated testing sites. Their purpose is to keep unsafe vehicles off the road.

The officer can investigate a variety of potential offences related to

  • Driver rest periods
  • Load weights and permits
  • Vehicles roadworthiness
  • Driver licences

Failure to produce any of the required information or to pass any tests will result in a fine and the possibility of vehicle impoundment. This applies to both British and International vehicles on the roads.

Remember, such offences could cause endless stress and annoyance to the driver and cargo owners alike, with failure to meet deadlines and ferry departure times because of it. It’s easier to obey the rules than try to flout them.

In 2017, around 1,900 vehicles were charged with severe offences or immediate prohibition. This accounts for around 11% of British vehicles and almost 20% of International trailers.

Whilst DVSA checks may cause delays, they could prevent a lorry driver from falling asleep at the wheel during rush hour or avoid a poorly secured load from coming loose on a busy motorway.

HGV inspection

How Can I Avoid Lengthy DVSA Checks?

The simple answer? Make sure your vehicle is safe and secure before commencing your journey.

The driver of the vehicle will be held immediately responsible for any faults, therefore it is their responsibility to make sure that the vehicle is safe to drive before setting off.

However, the owner of the vehicle will be liable for the fine. So, make sure your vehicle is safe with these simple DVSA approved checks:

In the depot:

  • Check that your vehicle is in full working order. Always use trained inspector with appropriate DVSA knowledge for regular inspections.
  • Have a back-up solution in place in case a vehicle is not roadworthy
  • Ensure that all work is undertaken by DVSA approved mechanics and garages
  • Give drivers clear instructions of responsibilities so they know what is expected of them

On the road:

Each time you (or your driver) set off on a job, make sure you carry out a visual check. Even if you are leasing the vehicle or have just stopped at the service station for something to eat, make sure the following are working correctly and in good condition:
  • Lights
  • Tyres
  • Wheels
  • Bodywork
  • Trailer coupling

In the event of a fault:

If you discover a fault in your vehicle, you need to immediately report any defects to whoever is responsible. The report should include
  • Vehicle registration/identification mark
  • Date of inspection
  • Details of defects
  • Name of the person reporting the defects
  • Operator responsibilities

The vehicle should not be used until the issue has been rectified. Failure to do so could result in on-the-spot fines and penalty points.

Ultimately the job of the DVSA is to keep road users out of harms way. Whilst their methods can be an inconvenience, their results are what keep everyone safe on the road.

29 March 2018

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