DVSA updates roadworthiness guide

The DVSA (formerly VOSA) has published an updated version of the Guide to Maintaining Roadworthiness – which it says is “essential reading for anyone whose responsibilities include vehicle roadworthiness.” .

The revised version is partly the outcome of the views and advice of transport industry representatives DVSA worked closely with during a review.

Says the DVSA: “As a result of their input, the 2014 revision clears up some grey areas and gives better guidance to operators, drivers and maintenance providers.”

Some of the more important changes it has made are to:

  • Older vehicles and trailers
  • Safety inspection completion dates
  • Safety inspection and repair facilities
  • Brake testing.

The DVSA says: “As vehicles age, their average annual MOT failure rate increases. These older vehicles are more likely to experience in-service roadworthiness defects than newer vehicles. Therefore, our guidance for older vehicles is more frequent maintenance. We also recommend a maximum interval of six weeks between safety inspections for vehicles and trailers aged 12 years and older.”

For the safety inspection completion date, DVSA says that however you decide your safety inspection intervals – mileage, time-based or a mix of both – you must not exceed them.

It is recommending that an International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) week planning system is used to allow some flexibility when you plan safety inspections. With this system, you should complete the safety inspection within the relevant ISO week it falls.

It says that for operators who decide to provide their own safety inspection facility, it “must be able to do the job.”

In the new guidance, it has listed the items that you will need for your safety inspection facility. “We acknowledge that there is no one-size-fits-all approach – our list is based on best practice,” says the DVSA. “One of the first things a Traffic Commissioner will look at if you fail to maintain your vehicles in a safe and roadworthy condition is whether you are meeting the best practice guidelines we’ve laid out.”

Because the emission test is initially a visual inspection, it has removed the need for access to engine exhaust emission test equipment from its list. But DVSA says that if your vehicle exhaust is visible, you will need this equipment to make sure your vehicle’s emissions fall within the legal limits.

It has included a new section on brake testing. The 2012/3 VOSA Effectiveness Report showed that 64,000 PCVs, LGVs and trailers failed their initial brake efficiency inspection, while at the roadside DVSA issued 8,000 prohibitions for brake defects.

“So, we are now looking for regular, meaningful, laden brake testing over and above the inspection at the annual MOT test,” says DVSA. It is looking for a minimum of three successful brake efficiency tests spread throughout the year, in addition to the annual MOT test.

Download The Guide Here