DVSA updates roadworthiness guidance for vehicle operators

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As part of this year’s Road Safety Week, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has updated its Guide to Maintaining Roadworthiness: Commercial Goods and Passenger Carrying Vehicles.

The new guidance states that in future, DVSA will carry out follow-up investigations on a vehicle operator if it finds a tyre more than 10 years old as part of its routine heavy vehicle enforcement work. If the operator cannot give an adequate explanation for using an old tyre, or their tyre management systems are not up to standard, DVSA may refer them to the Office of the Traffic Commissioner for potential regulatory action.

The update builds on previous guidance issued by the Department for Transport (DfT) in 2013 which strongly discouraged the use of tyres older than 10 years on coaches.

The change applied from 23 November.

Referring to the new guidance, Gareth Llewellyn, DVSA Chief Executive, said:

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

“Tyre safety is vital and DVSA has always taken strong action to protect the public from unsafe tyres of all ages.

“By changing our approach, we’re sending the message that no one should use tyres more than 10 years old.”

The change follows a DfT announcement earlier this year of a new study into the safety of ageing tyres.

An additional update to the roadworthiness guidance covers the need for drivers to make sure they record the height of their vehicle during their daily walkaround check. This “height check” awareness is designed to make “bridge strikes” less likely. Such strikes, where a vehicle hits a bridge that is too low for it, are often caused by drivers failing to appreciate the height of their vehicle.

The updated Guide to Maintaining Roadworthiness: Commercial Goods and Passenger Carrying Vehicles can be downloaded from the GOV.UK website.

Last reviewed 3 December 2018

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