Goods and passenger operators should take note of some recent developments which may assist them or of which they should be aware:
1. DVSA remote enforcement procedures
The newly formed remote enforcement office (REO) based at Avonmouth, Bristol, has started to send out what are called “desk based assessments” of operators’ compliance records. In many cases this substitutes a DVSA examiner visiting your premises. Under the system a letter is sent from Avonmouth requesting evidence of compliance e.g. safety inspection records, tachograph records etc. The desk based assessment is accompanied with a form in which operators have to set out how they comply with the following areas:
- driver defect reporting.
- preventative maintenance, inspections, forward planning,
- driver licence/CPC/ADR compliance,
- drivers hours, working time,
- observance of loading/speed limits.
- vehicle/trailer numbers, operating centres and whether systems are externally audited.
In our view, this is an area where it may be easy for an operator to underestimate the detail and attention required in responding to these letters.
2. New Guide to Maintaining Roadworthiness (revised 2014 edition)
It is recommended that all operators, transport managers, maintenance staff and drivers have access to passages of the new guide relevant to them. Some key points emerging from the document relate to brake testing (where it is strongly advised that a roller brake test is used at every safety inspection or an approved calibrated declerometer as an alternative), the need to have safety inspections including items covered at annual test (as many forms are out of the date) and the setting of correct safety inspection intervals (to avoid over-inspection but avoid insufficiently frequent inspections).
The Guide does not have statutory force in the sense that a failure to follow its provisions is of itself a breach of the law: however, if its provisions have been followed then it is good evidence of an operator’s intent to be as compliant as it can.
The revisiting of maintenance systems and routines by reference to the new Guide is to be recommended. It can be found here.
3. Revised operator compliance risk score (OCRS)
It is now possible to obtain a detailed breakdown of roadworthiness and traffic scores under this system. The revised data operators can receive shows the points attributable to each individual event, how these are reduced over time and generally provides more comprehensive data, albeit the workings of this regime in some instances are still a mystery.
If you are not registered for OCRS then this is recommended, to ensure that you have a true picture of what is recorded against your licence so that you know it is accurate and there are no events of which you are unaware.
For further advice and information: https://www.gov.uk/manage-commercial-vehicle-compliance-online
To discuss any of the above and how it may affect your business or drivers, please get in touch with Tim Ridyard or by phone on 01223 411421.