Last time we surveyed operators, we asked if the provision of performance information for operators and vehicles might support better compliance across the industry. Over 80% of you agreed that making this information publicly available could encourage greater levels of compliance.
We have put together a short survey that you can use to feed back your views on the data you would find useful. You can also take this opportunity to raise any questions or concerns. It's very simple and will only take a few minutes to fill out. Thank you for taking the time to complete this survey – your responses will help us with our future plans.
Complete the survey now.
Individual Vehicle Approval – or IVA – for multi-stage build trailers will come in on 29 October 2013. But no matter what type of vehicle you want to have approved, there are some things that you can do to get your IVA test appointment as promptly as possible.
VOSA is experiencing higher than expected volumes of applications for the whole IVA scheme and has put in place measures to meet expected approval timescales for processing applications and issuing a test date. VOSA is keen to put the customer at the heart of this work and is actively working with industry trade associations to gain their memberships' views. We will keep you updated on progress.
To find out if you need IVA, take a look at the vehicle approval advice on GOV.UK.
Submit your application early
Submit your application as soon as you have the details of the vehicle. You must also make sure you include all of the supporting documents, including any for the first stage of the build, with your application.
Double-check that you’ve answered all the questions on your form before you send it – we have to chase up any unanswered questions, which will delay your application.
If you have any questions about the application, first check the guidance notes on the GOV.UK website.
Set up a pre-funded account
We offer a pre-funded account option for customers if you are likely to use our services on a regular basis. By keeping your account in credit, you can make prompt payments, which will speed up the process.
If you decide you need a model report, make sure you allow plenty of time to take your vehicle to a designated technical service to generate the data we’ll need to create one. VOSA is not responsible for this part of the process.
You will need to allow extra time if your application needs a model report, as this could add up to 10 days onto our process once we get the test data from the technical service. But you must send us a test application before we can create the model report.
Combine your applications
And finally, did you know that if your vehicle also needs an ADR (carriage of dangerous goods) inspection, we can do this on the same visit as the IVA if you send both ADR and IVA applications in together?
Read more information about IVA on the GOV.UK website.
The topic you want to know most about during our visits to operator sites is load security – how we apply the rules and what drivers can expect at the roadside. We’ve addressed the most common questions here, to share our responses with our wider Moving On audience.
What is a secure load?
A secure load is attached to the vehicle so that it will not fall off or affect vehicle stability and pose a risk of danger or injury to other road users.
The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986 state that ‘…the weight, distribution, packing and adjustment of the load of such vehicle or trailer shall at all times be such, that no danger is caused or is likely to be caused to any person in or on the vehicle or trailer or on a road.’
So, here at VOSA, we expect a load to be secured to the vehicle bed to prevent 100% forward, 50% sideways and 50% movement to the rear.
Internal cargo straps on curtain-sided trailers
You can use internally fitted straps hanging from the rails of a curtain-sided vehicle to secure a combined load and pallet of no more than 400kg in weight. The ideal solution is one strap across two pallets from rave to rave of the bed of the vehicle. You may need more straps if there are not enough fitted to the vehicle or trailer.
Use of sheeting
You will need to sheet unsheeted, open vessels – such as skips – and bulk-carrying vehicles when carrying loose loads. If the load expands over the height of the sides of the vessel, you must use additional security.
We will issue a prohibition and fixed penalty of £100 for any load found to be insecure. You can contest the prohibition and fixed penalty in court, by completing Part 2 of the fixed penalty notice and returning it to our Fixed Penalty Team in Swansea. Full address details are on the notice.
We have also supplied a load security matrix. This is a chart that will help you to work out what kind of security you need to apply to different types of load – and what our response will be if you fail to meet the standard. This is the matrix that our own officers use, so everyone is using the same information to work out how secure your load is.
VOSA closed our consultation on 2013 fee proposals mid June. We introduced a digital response on this occasion and in total received a fourfold increase in responses.
VOSA’s Head of Regulatory Change and Fees, John MacLellan, said: ‘The outcome of the fee consultation for HGV and PSV testing, operator licensing, other VOSA services and some Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA – responsible for licensing and testing vehicles and drivers in Northern Ireland) services is currently being analysed. It will be published once ministers have considered the views and what action they intend to take.’
VOSA has completed our investigation into simplifying heavy vehicle test procedures. The aim is to reduce the burden on both operators and VOSA without compromising road safety or the environment.
Option to jack
We have concluded that the steered axles on trucks, buses and some trailers can be correctly assessed by using the heavy duty wheel play detectors and feeler gauges without jacking the axle – similar to the practice used by most of Europe.
But not every vehicle can be assessed this way, so where necessary, an examiner will have the option to jack the axle to make an assessment. We have also identified that some vehicles with independent front suspension can only be tested properly by jacking. So, for a small number of vehicles jacking will continue.
There is an extremely low failure rate for the emissions test. Our investigation showed that in most cases a visual assessment would give exactly the same result. Current diesel smoke meter (DSM) technology struggles to cope with modern, clean engines. The European Commission is looking at new testing equipment for the future to test for smaller particulate matter and oxides of Nitrogen. So, until new equipment is available we will be restricting the use of DSMs to those vehicles where smoke levels appear marginal. Any vehicle that fails the visual emissions test will have a metered test. Vehicles submitted for reduced pollution or low emissions tests will always receive a DSM test.
The conclusion of our investigation and after consulting with manufacturers and trade bodies is that we will be simplifying the test by allowing examiners the discretion not to jack steered axles or conduct a metered smoke test.
Making the change
We will monitor and analyse the introduction of these changes, which are scheduled from 1 October 2013. The heavy vehicle inspection manuals will be updated when these changes are introduced.
Email the VOSA Customer Service Centre for further information on these changes.
The Department for Transport will very soon introduce a regulation outlining two new exemptions from the requirement to hold the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) qualification.
The first exemption benefits both mechanics and valets delivering vehicles as long as:
- no goods or passengers are being carried
- the vehicle is not being used for hire or reward
- driving HGVs or PSVs is not the driver’s main job
- the vehicle remains within 50km of the driver’s base
The second exemption benefits mechanics and applies as long as the vehicle is being driven to a pre-booked roadworthiness test.
Between 10 September 2013 and the date when the new regulations come into force for PSV drivers with acquired rights, VOSA will:
- not prioritise pursuing Driver CPC infringements against people who would be exempt once the new regulations were introduced
- not issue fines or penalties to those people
VOSA will take enforcement action against other drivers – and their employers – who should have a Driver CPC but who fail to comply.
Read the Department for Transport press release on GOV.UK.
Read more about the Driver CPC on GOV.UK.
Don’t let your brakes reach breaking point – read our advice on the most common problems we come across and how to avoid letting them affect your journeys.
In addition to being one of the major causes of PSV prohibitions, braking defects are the number one cause of HGV and trailer prohibitions in the UK. They make up 10% of all HGV and 20% of trailer prohibitions issued.
It goes without saying that a well-maintained braking system is essential to operate a safe vehicle. Good operator maintenance systems and driver first-use checks should spot and deal with defects before they reach the point where we have to issue a prohibition.
Replace cracked discs
Brake disc fractures are the biggest problem on HGVs, totalling 19% of the brake prohibitions and 9% of trailer prohibitions. As general guidance, we will issue a prohibition if a brake disc fracture extends through the disc surface to the ventilation cavity. You should closely monitor the condition of heat cracks on the surface of brake discs, as they can quickly deteriorate. If there are cracks running from the edge of the brake disc to the centre, the disc must be replaced. You should consult the manufacturer’s guidance on brake disc wear tolerances, when deciding whether a brake disc is serviceable.
Taking up the slack
Another common defect is excessive brake actuator travel, which is normally associated with poor maintenance of automatic slack adjusters (ASAs).
All HGVs, trailers and PSVs over 3.5T from 1995 are fitted with ASAs that must work correctly. If they need regular manual adjustment, they are not working correctly. ASAs are subject to wear, so you will need to assess them regularly and replace them as necessary.
You can read the VOSA guide to maintaining automatic slack adjusters on the GOV.UK website.
The driver should be the first person in your preventative maintenance system to identify potential braking faults, normally by a warning light or noise when the brakes are applied. Therefore, operators should ensure that drivers are aware of defective brake symptoms, and that they know how to identify and report problems.
Drivers should be familiar with the warning lights on their vehicle – there are many variations to warning lights and their sequences. If a warning light indicates a potential fault, the driver should make sure the vehicle is safe to drive, or risk a prohibition and the Operator Compliance Risk Score (OCRS) points that go with it.
Air leaks on the braking system are another common defect that drivers should notice during the first-use check or as they apply the brakes. If the driver hears an air leak when pressing the foot brake, there could be a serious problem – get it checked!
Well managed vehicle and trailer maintenance will support safer roads and help operators to avoid the repercussions of a poor OCRS.
If in doubt - check it out!
If the driver is in any doubt whether to use the vehicle, they should check with the Transport Manager or the person responsible for vehicle maintenance before they begin their journey.