VOSA have recently issued a best practice guide for the van industry. In the introduction, the Senior Traffic Commissioner, Mrs Bell, states that it has recently become clear that many vans and their drivers are not as safe as they should be and she encourages them to read the VOSA publication and seek specialist advice.
VOSA stop about 10,800 vans per year and 93% of these are found to be overloaded, with 63% found to have serious mechanical defects. VOSA recommend that drivers carry out walkround checks before using the van and record any defects, rectify defects before the van sets out and record the repairs. They also recommend that vans are serviced to at least the minimum standard in line with the manufacturer’s guidelines and that if they are subject to demanding work that they check more frequently safety critical components such as brakes. Van owners and drivers should remember that, just like operators of larger vehicles, they are subject to the Construction and Use Regulations and that breach of these regulations can result in a criminal prosecution. If you receive a summons, then please contact me as I might be able to assist with reducing the fine.
Drivers and operators of vans should be aware of both the GB domestic drivers’ hours regulations and the EC drivers hours and tachograph rules and which type of rules apply to different situations. Most of the time, van drivers will be subject to the domestic rules but will be subject to European rules if the maximum permissible mass of the vehicle including any trailer exceeds 3.5 tonnes. There are various exemptions for both types of rules and if you are at all in doubt as to which type of rules apply, then seek my advice.
The guide can be downloaded from the VOSA section of the www.gov.uk website.