As a user of vehicles, it is your responsibility to ensure that the vehicles you use are roadworthy. It is an offence to use an unroadworthy vehicle on the road. The term ‘user’ of a vehicle applies to the driver and the person paying the driver to act for them.
EU Legislation If you are an operator of heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) and public service vehicles (PSVs), you must meet the governing legislation that the Traffic Commissioner have outlined in their Statutory Guidance Document. This is now EU legislation and so if you operate within the UK or outside of the UK you should ensure vehicles are roadworthy
Use these important key points as a guide to help you plan and set up a compliant and effective maintenance system for your vehicles.
1. A responsible person must undertake a daily walk around check, preferably immediately before a vehicle is used.
2. First-use inspections are essential for operators who lease, hire or borrow vehicles. These are especially important where vehicles and trailers have been off the road for some time.
3. Drivers must be able to report promptly any defects or symptoms of defects that could adversely affect the safe operation of vehicles. Reports must be recorded and provision should be made to record details of any rectifiation work done.
4. Drivers’ defect reports, used to record any faults and rectifiation work, must be kept for at least 15 months.
5. Operators must ensure that regular safety inspections are carried out.
6. Safety inspections must include those items covered by the appropriate Department for Transport annual test.
7. Safety inspections should be pre-planned, preferably using a time-based programme.
8. The system of safety inspections must be regularly monitored, especially in the early stages.
9. Any remedial work carried out as a result of safety inspections must be recorded.
10. The safety inspection record must include:
11. On some types of vehicles and operations, intermediate safety checks may be necessary.
12. Records of safety inspections must be kept for at least 15 months for all vehicles, including vehicle that have been removed form the operators licence.
13. Staff carrying out safety inspections must be competent to assess the signifiance of defects. Assistance must be available to operate the vehicle controls as necessary.
14. There must be an internal system to ensure that unroadworthy vehicles are removed from
service, with someone responsible to take vehicles off the road.
15. Operators who undertake their own safety inspections must have the correct tools and
facilities for the size of the flet and type of vehicle operated.
16. All operators should have access to a means of measuring brake effiiency and setting headlamp aim. For vehicles showing signs of visible exhaust smoke a diesel smoke meter should be used to ensure that the level of smoke emission is within the legal requirements.
17. Operators are responsible for the condition of vehicles and trailers that are inspected and/or
maintained for them by agents, contractors or hire companies.
18. Operators who have contracted out their safety inspections must draw up a formal written contract with an inspection agency or garage. Such operators should view inspection sheets and have a means of regularly monitoring the quality of work produced for them.
19. The dates when safety inspections are due must be the subject of forward planning. A maintenance planner or wall chart should be used to identify inspection dates at least six months before they are due. Computer based systems are equally acceptable.
20. Any system of maintaining roadworthiness of vehicles should be effectively and continually monitored.
21. Any changes by licensed operators to arrangements for safety inspections must be notified to the Central Licensing Unit without delay.
22. Drivers must be given clear written instructions about their responsibilities.
A full VOSA Guide To Road Worthiness For Commercial Goods & Passenger Carrying Vehicles is available to download from the Government.