A Guide to Maintaining Vehicle Roadworthiness

Within the transport and logistics industry, ensuring roadworthiness is paramount for the safety of both drivers and the public. Failure to do so could not only result in hefty fines but may also result in significant harm to other road users. This responsibility falls on the shoulders of the road operators and drivers, and should never be overlooked.

In this article we’ll take a look at what defines roadworthiness, particularly focusing on Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs), and explore how the use of the right software technology can assist operators in maintaining required vehicle standards.

What defines roadworthiness?

The Driver Vehicle Standards (DVSA) defines roadworthiness as “complying with the appropriate vehicle construction, road safety, environmental and operating standards required by the law in the UK.

Operating a vehicle which is categorised unworthy is viewed as a danger to other drivers and is deemed a criminal offence. Not only will this result in public condemnation and fines from the DVSA affecting business’s reputation, but it could also result in the repeal of the business operator’s licence.

How operators can keep vehicles roadworthy

The DVSA has published many guides regarding the key areas on vehicles that operators should regularly check before travelling on UK roads, for Public Service Vehicles (PSV), Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGV), Light Goods Vehicles (LGV) and trailers.

Last year, 450,000+ checks were conducted by DVSA and non-DVSA regulators, with 8% of these checks resulting in a final failure grade after initial and final checks. Over 5% of these failures were linked to headlamp issues, followed by issues relating to HGV braking systems.

The situation is even more stark for operators of LGVs and vans, with Direct Line Group reporting thatserious safety defects have been found in almost two-thirds (64%) of checks carried out by inspectors from the DVSA on LGVs.

Loveday Ryder, Chief Executive at the DVSA continues, “Our mission is to keep Britain moving safely and sustainably. In enforcement, we carry out roadside checking of commercial drivers and vehicles and assist the traffic commissioners with licensing and monitoring companies that operate goods vehicles, buses and coaches.”

To avoid similar faults when assessed, there are many actions that operators and drivers can undertake. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Regular inspections: Conduct regular checks of critical components such as brakes, tires, lights, and steering to identify and address potential issues promptly.
  • Legislation adherence: Comply with DVSA regulations, including service schedules, recording maintenance activities, and promptly addressing defects.
  • Skilled workforce: Ensure mechanics, technicians, and drivers responsible for maintenance are well-trained, with regular training programs keeping them updated on the latest technologies and safety standards.
  • Record-keeping: Maintain accurate records of inspections, repairs, and routine maintenance activities to demonstrate compliance and track the vehicle’s maintenance history.

How technology assists operators to monitor and maintain vehicle standards

Keeping track of all the tasks and procedures required to maintain compliance can be tricky. However, using industry-relevant technology such as Transport Management Software (TMS) can help facilitate industry best practices regarding vehicle maintenance. Here are a few examples of how TMS software can help operators:

  • Walk-around check apps: Using a vehicle check app, drivers can conduct prompted searches for key areas on vehicles, and feedback the information directly to the office, helping to prevent non-roadworthy vehicles from being planned for jobs.
  • MOT and maintenance scheduling: Scheduled maintenance checks are essential for preventing unexpected breakdowns and ensuring the overall roadworthiness of the vehicle.
  • Document storage: Through TMS software and apps, operators can store historic data and documents in the Cloud, enabling swift retrieval and reviews during roadside or onsite checks.
  • Vehicle allocation: TMS gives planners visibility to allocate appropriate vehicles to specific jobs based on specifications. This helps to avoid vehicles being used for jobs that they aren’t designed for, possibly reducing wear and tear, as well as potential avoidable strain on vehicles.
  • Predictive analysis: With all job history within a TMS, operators can identify which vehicles in their fleet have travelled the furthest and been used the most. These reports can help them predict which vehicles are more likely to be close to their limits, and most likely to need ad-hoc maintenance to prevent more serious faults.
  • Workshop integrations: Through integrated workshop modules, operators can track MOT and services, as well as links to invoicing and replacement parts orders, keeping everything in one location.
  • Smart route planning: Using an effective route planning module within a TMS helps operators identify risky areas, and plan routes away from hazards, reducing the risk of vehicle damage.

Maintaining roadworthiness is a top priority for haulage operators, and TMS software provides a valuable tool for managing maintenance and vehicle health effectively.

For more information on how a TMS could benefit your operations, download the Mandata TMS brochure here.