Legal Advice For DVSA Compliance Inspections

A visit by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) can have serious consequences for you and your business. The DVSA has the power to inspect your site and vehicles, as well as take action if it decides the terms of your operator's licence are not being adhered to.

It is therefore always important to have legal representation in the event of any such visit. Simpson Millar's Haulage and Road Transport department can provide you with expert advice before, during and after any DVSA compliance inspection.

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What Is A DVSA Compliance Inspection?

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) carries out executive functions on behalf of the Department for Transport.

Along with a list of other duties, the agency is responsible for:

  • Conducting annual tests on haulage vehicles, trailers and buses
  • Ensuring commercial drivers adhere to safety regulations and keep their vehicles roadworthy
  • Conducting audits (both routine and targeted) on operators to ensure adherence to road safety and environmental legislation
  • Providing support to Traffic Commissioners for Great Britain and the Northern Ireland transport regulator, in licencing and monitoring haulage operators, bus and coach companies.

The DVSA has the power to carry out mandatory inspections of your site. A DVSA compliance inspection will generally follow the issuing of a new Operator's Licence or a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN), but a notice of inspection may be sent out at any time. The DVSA are also able to visit your site without providing any formal notice.

What Does A DVSA Visit Involve?

The aim of a DVSA compliance inspection is to ascertain whether you are complying with the terms of your Operator's Licence. This will be determined by an inspector, who will look to see if you are abiding by the conditions you agreed to when you applied for your licence.

A number of factors will be taken into consideration, including:

  • Records – Are they kept up to date and readily available for the DVSA on request? The documentation for all your haulage vehicles or passenger transport will be required for inspection.
  • Tachograph – Is your vehicle or fleet fitted with tachographs, as required by law, with regular analysis of the data and drivers adhering to the Drivers' Hours Regulations? An inspector may review the tachograph readings during a DVSA visit.
  • Vehicle upkeep – Is regular inspection and maintenance of your vehicle or fleet carried out in accordance with the terms of your licence? Records of these, along with evidence of daily driver checks and repair logs, will need to be available for a DVSA inspection.

Evidence of how you are complying with the terms of your Operator's Licence, along with the processes you have set in place to enable this, will be foremost among the inspector's concerns during the DVSA visit.

What Powers Do The DVSA Have If I Fail The Inspection?

If the DVSA inspector decides you are in violation of the terms of your licence, the Traffic Commissioner will be notified. You will then be ordered to attend a Public Inquiry to put your side of the case. Failure to do so to the satisfaction of the Traffic Commissioner may result in the following action:

  • Extra conditions on your licence
  • Suspension of your licence
  • Revocation of your licence
  • Reducing the amount of vehicles your licence allows you to operate
  • Ordering regular DVSA inspections upon your site
  • Disqualifying you as a company director and disqualifying individuals or companies from holding an Operator's Licence
  • Imposing financial penalties if you are a bus service operator
  • Removing any professional competency or similar accreditations if you or your company has achieved them.

It is therefore essential to have a professional road transport law solicitor on hand if there is the threat of a DVSA visit. 

Why Choose Simpson Millar For A DVSA Compliance Inspection?

Simpson Millar has a specialist Haulage and Road Transport Law department who are experts in handling all aspects of transport legislation, from DVSA inspections to public inquiries.

If you are due a DVSA visit, we can offer professional representation, providing legal advice and guidance to ensure your interests are protected in advance of, throughout and during the aftermath of an inspection. We can also offer any follow up services that may be required as a result of a compliance visit.

If your site is subject to a spot check without notice, we may still be able to attend. Give us a call and we will advise accordingly.

What Should I Do Next?

For independent and expert legal advice on a DVSA compliance inspection, or to discuss any other issue regarding road transport law, contact Simpson Millar today.

Complete our no obligation enquiry form and we will call you back or Freephone 0808 129 3320. For out of hours advice including weekends Freephone 0808 129 3310.


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Julie Robertson - Motoring Offences and Criminal Defence Solicitor - Manchester

Julie Robertson
Partner, Head of Motoring & Criminal Defences

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