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How much importance are you putting on safety when you send your vehicles out onto public roads, where everyday people go about their day-to-day business?

Shockingly, it’s not always the answer we’d expect within the transport industry.

Expired MOTs, missed maintenance inspections, loose wheel nuts, failing ABS systems and inadequate monitoring of drivers’ hours are commonplace in some operations, raising very serious concerns for road safety.

In a recent case heard by Traffic Commissioner Nick Denton, a vehicle had a tyre blow out while in service which also left the rear stop and indicator lights inoperable. After replacing the tyre, the driver continued on his journey for a considerable distance with lights that weren’t in working order. 

A DVSA investigation found that the driver of the vehicle didn’t possess the necessary driving entitlement or a driver CPC, while the vehicle was operating without an MOT. Few safety inspection records were available for scrutiny and the operator couldn’t produce any tachograph data.

Nick Denton described the actions of the operator as “a grotesque failure” to abide by many of the requirements for safe and lawful operation of vehicles. Revoking the firm’s licence was an “inevitable” outcome.

The most serious cases of non compliance can also lead to criminal convictions and fines. Recently, the director of a company and a HGV supervisor were convicted for causing or abetting dangerous driving after a vehicle involved in a crash was found with 18 safety related defects.

The judge described the vehicle as an accident waiting to happen and said the risk of harm posed was “at a level of death” after a member of the public was left with life changing injuries.

The pair involved were fined sums of £9,000 and £2,000 respectively. They’d previously been dealt with by Nick Denton at public inquiry, where the licence was revoked and the director disqualified for eight years.

Allowing vehicles which are not roadworthy to be driven on public roads should never happen. Operators who let standards fall don’t just put their licences at risk, they also risk people’s lives.

READ: Traffic commissioner written decisions on public inquiries

SHARE: DVSA's Guide to Maintaining Roadworthiness (new edition)