What to Expect from a DVSA Visit to your Operating Centre?

A DVSA site inspection is one of the most stressful things an operator may go through. It normally begins with a phone call, email, or letter from a DVSA officer informing you that they intend to visit your operation centre and will want access to your documents.

Even for the most diligent operator, it's a terrifying proposition. The most important thing is to plan ahead of time and be aware of what to expect. The documents they usually look for are driver CPC training courses. This periodic course is essential to know that the drivers are professionally competent to drive trucks.

Here are a few points to create awareness on the issue:

Operators should expect a visit from either a Traffic Examiner or a Vehicle Examiner or both.

Typically, a Vehicle Examiner will want to evaluate your fleet as well as your maintenance records. They will want to know that all of your PMIs and MOTs are completed on time and to a high quality and that all driver flaws have been correctly recognised and corrected. The driver should also carry out his driver CPC training courses as evidence.

 A Traffic Examiner who would normally want to examine your tachograph data as well as evidence that your drivers are not breaking the law. It is essential that you completely comply with whoever is doing the inspection. Blocking a DVSA officer might result in a criminal charge.

DVSA may wish to compare your PMI data with your driver fault reports.

It does not look good if drivers report no issues on a vehicle in the week preceding a PMI, only for systemic maintenance flaws to be discovered during the PMI. It typically implies that the defect reporting is little more than a "check box" activity.

Failure to adopt a procedure for doing a daily walk round check (driver first use inspection) makes you accountable as the operator for any penalties that come as a result of your driver(s) being stopped at a DVSA roadside check. Along with that if driver CPC training courses are yet not completed they can be fined up to £1,000.

DVSA may wish to conduct a physical inspection of the operator's fleet.

The DVSA does not spend time visiting conforming operators, thus it is probably definitely due to anything you or your employees/agents did or did not do. The triggers are numerous, but popular ones include when your cars are stopped and technical flaws are identified; when the vehicle is overweight; when drivers' hours' violations are discovered.

DVSA also checks in driver CPC training courses for enquiring. Alternatively, the Traffic Commissioner may have ordered the visit as a consequence of a requested modification you made. Your MOT failure rate may be greater than the national average, which is always causing concern.

The DVSA may wish to ask a lot of questions to operators "under caution."

If a DVSA officer suspects that an infraction has been committed, they may ask operators questions "under caution law." Everyone who is being interrogated under caution has always had the right to legal counsel.  you people must seek it. This normally entails rescheduling the interview to a later date to allow you to speak with a lawyer.

The key thing is that the majority of DVSA staff are decent individuals who do their best to accomplish a tough job. They are not actively looking to take you down, but rather to determine whether you are in compliance with the regulations and, if not, what can be done.

Sometimes an operator only needs some advice, while others may demand the attention of the Traffic Commissioner. The truck drivers also need to verify their driver CPC training courses to the DVSA for a clean chit.

Final Reflections

Nobody's business is perfect, but some are better than others. You will intuitively understand where your company falls on the scale. The more serious the situation, the more work you must undertake.

Check that you have all of your paperwork in order and that it is up to date before the appointment. Be proactive if you know compliance has dropped significantly. It is always advised not to hit any paperwork including the driver CPC training courses from the DVSA during an investigation.

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