Guide to Maintaining Roadworthiness Updates 2023

Guide to Maintaining Roadworthiness Updates 2023

As road safety remains a top priority, ensuring the roadworthiness of vehicles is crucial. The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) provides comprehensive guidelines to help vehicle operators and owners maintain the safety and condition of their vehicles. In this blog post, we will explore the DVSA Guide to Maintaining Roadworthiness Updates 2023, highlighting the key changes and their significance in promoting safer roads.

Types of inspections and checks

In response to feedback, DVSA understands that there has been confusion regarding the specific checks to be performed during a first-use inspection and the frequency of driver walkaround checks.

To provide clarity and guidance, DVSA has taken steps to address this issue. They have introduced a clear definition for each type of inspection and check, ensuring that you understand their purpose and scope. This will assist you in conducting the appropriate checks based on the specific inspection or check required.

Additionally, DVSA has incorporated an intermediate safety check into their guidelines. This check is specifically designed for situations where certain components require more frequent inspections for wear and tear, exceeding the regular safety inspection intervals.

Safety inspection

A safety inspection is a periodic inspection that is carried out at pre-set intervals in line with what an operator has declared on the Vehicle Operators Licencing system (VOL). The scope of the inspection should at least include all the items covered by the statutory annual test and employ the methods of assessment that are prescribed in the respective inspection manual. See section 4 for further details.

Examples of Safety Inspection forms can be found in Annex 4A(HGV), 4B(PSV), 4C(LGV) and 4D (small trailers) the safety inspection form can be any format as long as the mandatory items listed in Section 1 of this guide are included on the form.

First-use inspection

Prior to using a newly acquired vehicle/trailer on the public highway, operators must conduct a first-use inspection to satisfy themselves that the equipment is in a roadworthy condition. The scope of the inspection should at least include all those items that are inspected at the annual test, this includes conducting a laden roller brake test when appropriate for the type of vehicle. In some instances, a first-use inspection is not required if sufficient evidence is provided to indicate that the equipment has been subject to a safety inspection. For example, documentation is provided to indicate that a new vehicle has been subject to a comprehensive pre-delivery inspection or a pre-rental inspection record has been provided by a hire/lease company.

Intermediate safety check

With some types of vehicles and operation, it may be necessary to check some components more often than at full safety inspections. For example, a vehicle used in urban areas such as a public service vehicle or a local delivery vehicle, or vehicles used in hilly areas, may require more frequent component checks, for example, brakes, steering and suspension. It is sometimes necessary to check components following repair work. Any additional intermediate safety checks carried out should be documented and retained on the maintenance file. It should be clear on the documentation these are an intermediate safety check and not a full safety inspection.

Daily walkaround check

A driver or designated responsible person must conduct a walkaround check of a vehicle/ trailer prior to using the equipment on the public highway. At least one walkaround check should be carried out in every 24-hour period that the vehicle/trailer is in service. Those carrying out such checks must be suitably trained and competent in identifying any faults that would render the vehicle/trailer unroadworthy. The scope of the check should include all items that are readily visible to the inspector without the need for dismantling. To facilitate the inspection, it may be necessary to use an assistant.

Brake testing

Starting from April 2025, with some exceptions, laden roller brake tests or Electronic Brake Performance Monitoring Systems (EBPMS) will be the accepted methods for brake testing. To help in preparation for this change, DVS strongly recommend conducting a laden roller brake test at every safety inspection. The updated guide provides more detailed instructions on using EBPMS and offers additional advice on brake testing. A brake performance assessment can be conducted up to 7 days prior to the safety inspection.

Light goods vehicles

Effective from 21st May 2022, new regulations require a standard international operator’s licence for the use of light goods vehicles weighing over 2.5 tonnes but not exceeding 3.5 tonnes, for hire or reward within or through the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein. DVSA has updated their guide to reflect this requirement. For more information regarding van operator licence requirements, feel free to read this blog. Alternatively, if you need help when applying for a van operator licence, please do get in touch.

Towing another company’s trailer

To offer guidance in the scenario of towing another company’s trailer, DVSA has added additional advice. This includes information on trailer authorisation for the operator license, responsibility for maintenance and safety inspections, and access to trailer documents. Operators are reminded of their responsibility for the condition of the trailer when coupled to their vehicle, as unroadworthy trailers can lead to penalties or prohibitions.

Advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS)

Acknowledging the increasing prevalence of vehicles equipped with ADAS, DVSA has introduced a new section addressing the need for system recalibration when windscreens are replaced. Furthermore, they highlight the importance of drivers being familiar with the various types of ADAS features installed in their fleet.

Other updates

  • In exceptional circumstances where the safety inspection report is unavailable when the vehicle is ready to return to service, DVSA has introduced a roadworthiness declaration. This formal document verifies that the vehicle has undergone the necessary inspections and repairs to ensure roadworthiness.
  • To enhance driver walkaround checks, the updated guide now includes height markers in the daily walk-around checks. This addition enables drivers to visually confirm compliance with height limits, ensuring clearance under bridges and structures.
  • Additionally, guidance on PSV automatic vehicle location (AVL) systems, emphasises their significance in monitoring and recording vehicle movements for operational efficiency and safety.

In Conclusion

The recent DVSA Guide to Maintaining Roadworthiness updates 2023, signify the agency’s commitment to improving road safety through effective vehicle maintenance practices. By emphasising regular inspections, updating brake testing standards, addressing electronic systems, enhancing defect reporting and rectification guidance, and emphasizing documentation and record-keeping, the guide provides a comprehensive framework for vehicle operators and owners to ensure their vehicles are safe and roadworthy.

Adhering to these updated guidelines will help promote a culture of preventive maintenance, early defect identification, and timely rectification. Ultimately, this will contribute to safer roads, reducing the risk of accidents caused by vehicle defects and ensuring that vehicles on our roads meet the required safety standards.

If you have any questions about the new Guide to Maintaining Roadworthiness Updates 2023, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Here to share the knowledge!


Call for logistics professionals to come together

Call for logistics professionals to come together

Forward post from DVSA: Call for logistics professionals to come together. The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT)has launched an initiative to bring together logistics and passenger transport operators in urgent need of supply chain resources.

The initiative, backed by the Road Haulage Association (RHA), the Freight Transport Association (FTA) and the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) matches organisations together so that those who have capacity can help those organisations in need, such as the NHS and the grocery retail sector.

Register on the CILT website if:

  • your organisation needs urgent support
  • you’re a driver in need of work
  • your organisation has capacity to support others in need

Motorway services are open

Motorway and major trunk road services remain open following advice from the government deeming them ‘essential services’.

The government has made it clear that for haulage and delivery drivers, travel is essential and therefore motorway services remain open, and continue to offer takeaway food, toilet and shower services.

How to keep safe

The RHA has published guidance for lorry drivers on how to keep safe when delivering goods, handling documentation and refuelling.

Keep up to date with all official government advice on COVID-19 at GOV.UK.

issue with periodic training

Issues with Driver CPC periodic training?

Foward post from DVSA

Periodic training should be informative and engaging and should help improve your skills as a professional driver. If you have had andy issues with Driver CPC periodic training you should report this to the DVSA

We take reports of poor quality periodic training very seriously and we’ll investigate if we hear about bad practice.

What Driver CPC training should cover

As a quick reminder, your training should be:

  • at least 7 hours in length, roughly once a year
  • in line with the Driver CPC syllabus and up to date with best practice guidelines
  • delivered by a knowledgeable trainer
  • engaging and informative

If you, or a member of your staff, had periodic training that you thought was poor quality or didn’t meet the legal requirements, please let us know by emailing

You’ll need to let us know:

  • the date of the training
  • who the training provider was
  • the name of the course you attended
  • what the problem with the training was

Find out more about Driver CPC on GOV.UK

Find out more about how to become a driver CPC trainer with TMconsultant

Bus and coach drivers Driver CPC deadline approaching

Top 10 reasons vehicles fail an MOT test

DVSA have published this very useful, top 10 reasons vehicles fail an MOT test.

For class 7 vehicles, the top 3 defects were:

  • lighting and signalling
  • suspension
  • brakes

In 2016 there were 1,687 accidents, including 28 deaths, caused by vehicle defects such as tyres, brakes or lights and indicators. It’s important to make sure your vehicle is safe to drive, to help keep Britain’s roads safe.

About this data set

This data set comes from data held by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA).

It isn’t classed as an ‘official statistic’. This means it’s not subject to scrutiny and assessment by the UK Statistics Authority.

MOT test results by class

The MOT test checks that your vehicle meets road safety and environmental standards. Different types of vehicles (for example, cars and motorcycles) fall into different ‘classes’.

This data table shows the number of initial tests. It doesn’t include abandoned tests, aborted tests, or retests.

The initial fail rate is the rate for vehicles as they were brought for the MOT. The final fail rate excludes vehicles that pass the test after rectification of minor defects at the time of the test.

MOT test results by class of vehicle

Initial failures by defect category

These tables give data for the following classes of vehicles:

  • class 1 and 2 vehicles – motorcycles
  • class 3 and 4 vehicles – cars and light vans up to 3,000kg
  • class 5 vehicles – private passenger vehicles with more than 12 seats
  • class 7 vehicles – goods vehicles between 3,000kg and 3,500kg gross vehicle weight

All figures are for vehicles as they were brought in for the MOT.

A failed test usually has multiple failure items.

The percentage of tests is worked out as the number of tests with one or more failure items in the defect as a percentage of total tests.

The percentage of defects is worked out as the total defects in the category as a percentage of total defects for all categories.

The average defects per initial test failure is worked out as the total failure items as a percentage of total tests failed plus tests that passed after rectification of a minor defect at the time of the test.

MOT class 1 and 2 vehicles: initial failures by defect category

MOT class 3 and 4 vehicles: initial failures by defect category

MOT class 5 vehicles: initial failures by defect category

MOT class 7 vehicles: initial failures by defect category

MOT test stations and testers

You must have an authorised test station to carry out MOTs, and you have to be approved as a ‘nominated tester’ (NT). Other MOT stations include:

  • post office operated test stations
  • designated local authorities
  • the Crown
  • some police authorities

MOT test stations and testers

Action against MOT authorised examiners and nominated testers

DVSA can take disciplinary action or stop you operating as a testing station or tester if your service is not good enough.

Action against authorised examiners and nominated testers

Bus and coach drivers Driver CPC deadline approaching

Changes to Drivers’ hours fines for commercial drivers March 5 2018

The rules will change from 5 March 2018 so lorry, bus and coach drivers who drive tired will be fined for every time they’ve done it in the last 28 days.

If you drive a lorry, bus or coach, you must follow rules on how many hours you can drive and the breaks you need to take.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) can fine drivers up to £300 if they’re caught breaking the rules. They can also be prosecuted or have their vehicle immobilised.

At the moment, DVSA can only fine drivers for:

  • offences committed that day
  • ongoing offences, like manipulating tachograph records, which record drivers’ hours

Drivers will be fined for older offences

From Monday 5 March 2018, DVSA traffic examiners will start issuing on-the-spot fines for any drivers’ hours offences committed in the last 28 days.

In a single roadside check, DVSA traffic examiners will issue fines for up to 5 drivers’ hours offences. It means you could be fined up to £1,500 in a single check if you’ve consistently broken the rules.

It won’t matter if the offences took place in Great Britain or elsewhere.

The rules will also apply to drivers who don’t live in Great Britain. However, they’ll need to pay any fines immediately, before being allowed to continue their journey. DVSA will immobilise their vehicle until they pay.

Fines to deter drivers from not resting properly

As well as giving fines to drivers for recent offences, DVSA traffic examiners have started issuing fines to deal with drivers who don’t properly rest.

Lorry, bus and coach drivers must take a 45-hour rest break at least every fortnight.

Since 1 November 2017, DVSA has started to fine drivers up to £300 if they spend their full weekly rest break in their vehicle in places where it causes a problem. For example, if a lorry driver spends their full break in the cab of their lorry in a layby.

Illegal parking, noise and litter nuisance

Spending the weekly rest break in the cab can:

  • contribute to drivers not properly resting
  • expose drivers to poor living conditions

It can also cause problems in local communities. In some areas, lorry drivers have parked illegally or inappropriately while taking the 45-hour break, and have caused residents to complain about noise, litter and anti-social behaviour.

During 2016, authorities in Kent took action against 3,700 lorry drivers for parking illegally or inappropriately.

Targeting problem areas

DVSA traffic examiners will target places where this is causing the biggest problems, such as residential areas and laybys.

DVSA will also work with its counterparts in other countries to deal with overseas operators whose drivers regularly do this.

Devastating consequences of driving tired

Crashes involving tired lorry drivers can be devastating. Almost a quarter of injuries in accidents involving lorries are fatal or serious.

About 40% of sleep-related accidents involve commercial vehicles.

According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), driving while tired may be responsible for:

  • 1 in 5 of all accidents
  • up to a quarter of serious and fatal crashes

Source: Vehicle enforcement data for Great Britain

In addition to the devastation caused to families and communities, road collisions cost the economy an estimated £16.3 billion a year, and add pressure on the NHS and emergency services.

Protecting you from unsafe drivers and vehicles

DVSA Chief Executive, Gareth Llewellyn, said:

DVSA’s priority is to protect you from unsafe drivers and vehicles.

These tougher fines will help us to take stronger action against any drivers or operators who break drivers’ hours rules and will help make our roads safer.

There’s no excuse for driving while tired. The results of falling asleep at the wheel of 40 tonne lorry can be devastating to families and communities. Any drivers breaking these rules is putting other road users at risk and could face losing their licence and livelihood.

James Firth, the Freight Transport Association’s Head of Licensing Policy and Compliance Information, said:

For some years, DVSA officers have been virtually powerless to take effective action against non-UK HGV drivers who may have committed a string of offences in the days and weeks before the vehicle is stopped.

These new powers mean the enforcement authorities will be more able – and more likely – to take action against all drivers who are found to have repeatedly flouted these critical road safety laws.

Bus and coach drivers Driver CPC deadline approaching

DVSA announce first businesses to benefit from transport scheme

DVSA announce first businesses to benefit from transport scheme. John Lewis, Sainsbury’s and a district council are among 30 organisations to start benefiting from a new way of recognising safe and responsible vehicle operators.

DVSA earned recognition for vehicle operators is a new way for organisations with lorries, buses and coaches to prove they meet driver and vehicle standards.

They’ll regularly share performance information with DVSA, such as their MOT initial pass rates and if their drivers have broken drivers’ hours rules.

In return, their vehicles are less likely to be stopped for roadside inspections. DVSA will still stop vehicles if they’re in an obviously dangerous condition.

Targeting those likely to be a danger to your safety

From today (31 January 2018), vehicle operators taking part in a pilot of the scheme will no longer have their vehicles routinely stopped at the roadside by DVSA.

This will let DVSA target its inspections and roadside checks at drivers and vehicles most likely to be a danger to your safety.

Household names, local businesses and a local council

The 30 private and public sector organisations on the pilot are responsible for over 6,000 lorries, buses or coaches.

The organisations include:

  • British Telecommunications
  • the City of Wakefield metropolitan district council
  • CT Plus – a social enterprise
  • DPD Group
  • John Lewis
  • Sainsbury’s

They’re all different sizes – the smallest having 2 vehicles, with the largest having more than 3,500 vehicles.

Helping responsible businesses

The scheme is being designed to help safe and responsible businesses go about their business unhindered, which will save them time and money.

It also means DVSA can spend more time taking unsafe drivers and vehicles off our roads.

There’s still time for operators to join the pilot

Vehicle operators can apply to join the DVSA earned recognition pilot until 28 February 2018. Those applying to join the pilot will get extra help through the application process.

All the benefits of the full scheme

The full scheme is expected to launch later in 2018.

When it’s launched, vehicle operators who have joined will be able to:

  • prove they’re an exemplary operator, which can help when they bid for contracts, and raise their profile with potential customers
  • use the DVSA earned recognition marque in their marketing and publicity, showing they’re serious about road safety
  • have their details shown on GOV.UK, so people know they’ve achieved the high standards needed to join the scheme
  • get access to a dedicated DVSA earned recognition team to discuss issues and ideas to help their business

Their vehicles will continue to be less likely to be stopped at the roadside for checks.

Protecting you from unsafe drivers and vehicles

DVSA Chief Executive, Gareth Llewellyn, said:

DVSA’s priority is to protect you from unsafe drivers and vehicles.

This pilot is allowing the best operators to go about their business unhindered, so we can target our activity at those most likely to be a danger to all road users.

I would like to thank everyone who has helped us develop the pilot to the point where operators are starting to feel the benefits.

Bus and coach drivers Driver CPC deadline approaching

New MOT reminder service launches in beta

New HGV roadworthiness legislation

New HGV roadworthiness legislation on its way

The government will be introducing new HGV roadworthiness legislation next year. The Department for Transport (DfT) has recently published the response to a consultation, setting out the HGV periodic testing and inspections exemptions which you can read here. It forms part of a wider package of legislation on roadworthiness-related changes, which will come into effect from 20 May 2018.

Who does this apply to?

The big question is, who (and what) does this new legislation apply to? Well, this is aimed at specialised heavy vehicles (which were previously exempt) who will now fall into the scope of annual testing. These vehicles will need to be plated before they are tested.

When will the new legislation take effect?

The DVSA will implement a phased approach for most vehicle types affected, which will extend the date for compliance, under certain circumstances, beyond 20 May 2018 and up to 20 May 2019 at the latest. It’s based on the Vehicle Excise Duty renewal date for the relevant vehicles. This will help to make sure the implementation is carried out in a way that gives industry more flexibility to balance out the testing of their fleet over a longer period.

Which vehicles will now be included?

In total, DVSA estimate there to be around 29,500 vehicles that will be brought into testing. The largest groups of vehicles affected are breakdown vehicles, road construction vehicles and engineering plant.
Top line categories of vehicles to be removed from exemption:
  • Mobile cranes; Break-down vehicles;
  • Engineering plant and plant, not being engineering plant, which is movable plant or equipment being a motor vehicle or trailer (not constructed primarily to carry a load) especially designed and constructed for the special purposes of engineering operations;
  • Trailers being drying or mixing plant designed for the production of asphalt or of bituminous or tarmacadam;
  • Tower wagons;
  • Road construction vehicles (but not road rollers and other specialised equipment not based on an HGV chassis);
  • Electrically propelled motor vehicles registered since 1 March 2015; Tractor units pulling exempt trailers; and
  • Motor tractors and heavy and light locomotives exempted under sections 185 and 186 (3) of the Road Traffic Act 1988, where these are based on a HGV chassis.

It’s worth noting that showman’s vehicles, many of which are currently exempt from testing as plant or motor tractors, will remain exempt from testing via a new specific exemption

Plating and testing

The focus of the consultation was on the requirement for annual roadworthiness testing. However, heavy vehicles within scope of annual roadworthiness testing are also by default within scope of vehicle plating. This involves DVSA issuing a plating certificate, in advance of a vehicle’s first test, to be attached to the vehicle that denotes the maximum vehicle weight and maximum train weight. This assists with vehicle testing and enforcement. There is no fee to vehicle operators for being plated, but this imposes an administrative cost to DVSA, funded by roadworthiness test fees.

Vehicles becoming subject to testing will join the existing goods vehicle testing regime where DVSA personnel test vehicles at Authorised Testing Facilities (ATFs). Where, due to the unusual design of a particular vehicle, this is not possible, the vehicle testers will satisfy themselves that safety and environmental standards will be maintained. The fees for these tests will be the same as applies to all currently tested HGVs

As with all consultations and new legislation changes they are detailed. So if you fall into any of the above categories it is recommended you read the full document which you can find here. Find out more about the phased approach.

If you need any assistance please don’t hesitate to get in touch, here to share the knowledge!

DVSA earned recognition

The DVSA have launched their pilot DVSA earned recognition scheme. This can only be a great opportunity for operators and help with road safety!

Forward post from DVSA

DVSA earned recognition: save time and money

We know roadside checks cost you time and money. That’s why we want to make sure we don’t target compliant operators unnecessarily.

DVSA earned recognition for vehicle operators is a new way to prove you meet driver and vehicle standards.

You regularly share performance information with DVSA. In return, your vehicles are less likely to be stopped for inspections.

It’s a voluntary scheme that’s designed to work for operators of all sizes.

Join the pilot

We’re looking for operators with a track record of compliance to join the pilot.

If you join now, we’ll give you more help to get through the process. This level of support won’t be available later, so take advantage of it now.

We’ve published a new guide about how to join the pilot of DVSA earned recognition for vehicle operators. It tells you everything you need to know to get started.

When you successfully complete the pilot

You’ll get automatic entry to the DVSA earned recognition scheme. This will give you the full benefits, such as being:

  • an exemplary operator, and being able to prove this when you bid for contracts
  • recognised as a DVSA-approved operator on a list on GOV.UK
  • less likely to have your vehicles stopped at the roadside for inspections, saving you time and money
  • less likely to have DVSA enforcement staff visit your premises
Bus and coach drivers Driver CPC deadline approaching

Changes to fines for commercial drivers

Changes to fines for commercial drivers

(Forward post from DVSA)

Changes to fines for commercial drivers rules will affect lorry, bus and coach drivers who drive tired will be fined for every time they’ve done it in the last 28 days.