The main piece of legislation that underpins an operators’ responsibilities to roadworthiness is the Construction and Use Regulations 1986. Both van and HGV operators are covered by this.
What do the regulations say?
That vehicles should be roadworthy and fit for purpose. For those covered by operator’s licences, proving a proper roadworthiness regime includes documented daily walk-round checks by drivers, six weekly inspections or a suitable time frame which fits the duty cycle of the vehicle, proper maintenance facilities; and a sound first time pass rate at MOT.
Van operators are less constrained in how they carry out maintenance but best practice suggests that they should follow a regime similar to that of HGV operators.
DVSA’s best practice guide can be found at www.gov.uk/government/publications/your-van-best-practice-guide
The DVSA and police work together and separately to enforce roadworthiness.
Unroadworthy vehicles are given delayed or immediate prohibitions; operators receiving too many prohibitions can be called to Public Inquiry. Furthermore, there is an unlimited fine for using an HGV in a dangerous condition, and a £2,500 fine for vans. The driver receives three licence points; repeat offences can end with driving disqualification.
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