What’s New in the DVSA Guide to Maintaining Roadworthiness?

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The Guide to Maintaining Roadworthiness is a document from the DVSA. It provides guidelines and best-practice advice to operators for maintaining the safety of their fleet. With information pertaining to HGVs, PSVs and LGVs, the guide is a one-stop-shop for maintaining the safety of commercial vehicles.

The guide was updated in 2018, with more information and specific advice, as well as new sections added which take into account today’s logistics landscape. The updated guide is a whopping 110 pages long, with new sections covering things like the Earned Recognition scheme, the use of electronic systems as part of vehicle maintenance and updates to driver defect reporting.

In his first forward to the guide since being appointed DVSA Chief Executive, Gareth Llewellyn discusses the commercial and financial benefits of Earned Recognition, how DVSA testing will continue to keep up with new technology, and his vision for safer drivers, safer vehicles and safer journeys for all.

The Traffic Commissioners’ forward has been updated too, with Sarah Bell and Kevin Rooney noting that:

“As an operator, transport manager, driver or technician, you know just how quickly vehicle technology continues to progress. That’s why it’s vital for this essential guide to be regularly updated.”

What’s new in the DVSA Guide to Maintaining Roadworthiness?

The guide still focusses on general vehicle maintenance and safety management and the DVSA have worked with the industry to make changes to the guide that they say will “improve the guidance for operators and maintenance providers”

The updates to the guide prompted us to add new information to our ‘Demystifying the Guide to Maintaining Roadworthiness’ posts on driver daily walkaround checksregular & first-use checks and the use of electronic systems.

Key updates include:

New sections added

Since the last publication of the Guide to Maintaining Roadworthiness, the DVSA have released two new standalone guides. The information from these guides has now been included in the updated Guide to Maintaining Roadworthiness

IT for Vehicle Maintenance Systems

The guide now includes a comprehensive section on electronic capture and storage of safety inspection data. You can learn more in our updated post here, but essentially – as with any roadworthiness advice:

“It’s ultimately the roadworthiness of the vehicles operated that will demonstrate if the system is well designed and meets the required standards”

Electronic Braking Performance Monitoring System

The guide now recommends an Electronic Braking Performance Monitoring System (EBPMS) is used in the case of trailers, to assess and monitor braking performance. An EBPMS can allow operators to compare their performance against the statutory requirements for the type of vehicle or trailer.

Any EBPMS system used must be capable of at least identifying overall vehicle braking performance value, and would ideally be able to identify the position of a defective brake.

In the guide, the DVSA acknowledges and outlines an industry standard specification for EBPMS, but they do not ‘approve’ any specific system, software or hardware. The guide makes it clear operators are ultimately responsible for ensuring that vehicles are safely maintained and that the system used is fit for purpose.

Inspection frequencies simplified

By removing the graph from the inspection frequency guidelines, the section has been de-complicated and is now easier to understand. The graph has been replaced with examples fitting various vehicle scenarios, making it much clearer for operators to see how the guidance can actually be put into practice in their own fleet.

Inspection guidance updated

Advice and guidelines around some particularly challenging aspects of the inspection process have been updated. This may be due to the challenging nature of the inspection itself, changes to vehicle and fleet technology or changes in legislation. Updated sections include:

  • Inspection and repair facilities – The guide now highlights the responsibility of operators to ensure that inspection facilities are “adequate for the job”, and that workshops & technicians have achieved some recognised quality standard or accreditation, even where inspections are contracted out
  • Tyre management – Guidance on managing tyre maintenance has been expanded upon, including monitoring tyre age
  • Brake testing – The guide now includes strong advice to assess brakes with a laden roller brake test instead of a road test, and to take brake temperature readings where only a road test is available
  • Emissions & air quality – The importance of having a correctly maintained emissions control system for each vehicle has been highlighted, with crackdowns on emissions fraud and changes to HGV levy rules
  • Monitoring – The section on monitoring now includes the Earned Recognition Scheme, changes brought about by the EU Roadworthiness Directive and prohibition assessment criteria
  • Driver defect reports – The list of inspections a driver should undertake as part of their daily walkaround checks now includes vehicle height and AdBlue systems
  • Vehicle Operator Licensing – Advice on the use of the Vehicle Operator Licensing system (VOL) as part of maintenance updates has been brought up to date
  • PSVAR – The guidance for Public Service Vehicle Accessibility Regulations (PSVAR) has been updated to reflect changes
  • The end of HGV annual testing exemptions – HGVs which were previously exempt from annual testing must now have a valid test certificate in place
  • Changes to roadside payments – The DVSA will no longer accept chip & PIN payments from drivers paying fixed penalty notices during roadside inspections.

While the guide has been updated (and will undoubtedly continue to evolve as technologies expand and priorities change), its’ core values remain the same. Vehicle maintenance is vital, not only for the sake of safety but also for operators to maintain a competitive advantage.

With the new guide including a detailed section on the use of electronic systems for vehicle maintenance, it is clear that software like Stream Check is fast becoming industry standard, and operators using paper check sheets will soon be left behind.


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