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November 08 2017
By Mel Holley

Mel is the Editor at routeONE magazine. He has more than 30 years’ experience in road and rail transport journalism.

Operators must make “urgent
improvements” on brake testing

Traffic Commissioners are warning operators to improve their approach to brake performance testing.

Their intervention comes as the issue of poor brake testing – or the complete absence of any checks – is appearing “far too frequently” during DVSA investigations.

They add that often operators are “simply paying lip service” to brake performance testing. In many cases, there’s too little recorded on the brake test to offer a meaningful assessment. In others, no information is recorded at all.

Operators are also failing to carry out testing at the required frequency.

Sarah Bell and Kevin Rooney, the lead TCs for enforcement, say: “Operators should carry out an urgent review of their brake-testing regime now.”

“There should be no compromise in any operator’s approach, no flexibility around standards.”

“This issue is not limited to a specific type of licence, size of operator or a particular sector – it is across the board. That is why TCs are highlighting the need for a change of attitude within the industry towards brake testing.

The DVSA Guide to Maintaining Roadworthiness is clear that every safety inspection must include a metered assessment of the braking performance.

It adds that a road test method to assess the brake performance for all planned safety inspections will usually be inadequate.

Where deficiencies in brake performance are identified, either during use of the vehicle or trailer or at the safety inspection, a measured brake efficiency test must be carried out. The efficiency test must confirm the brakes are performing satisfactorily before the vehicle or trailer can be considered as roadworthy.

DVSA also publishes detailed guidance on how to prepare a vehicle for the brake testing element of the MOT.

The TCs say that an operators’ review should include an analysis of safety inspection records over the last 15 months, looking at whether the type of test and the information recorded is sufficient.

Operators must make sure their brake tests are planned in line with DVSA guidance and satisfy themselves that their vehicles are roadworthy.

“We want licence holders to be sure their brake testing regimes are effective,” they add.

Find out more: Guide to Maintaining Roadworthiness 

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