The importance of commercial vehicle fleets undertaking regular defect checks is underlined by statistics from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) suggesting that operators are finding it difficult to keep vans and HGVs in a roadworthy condition.
Jaama, the UK’s leading fleet industry asset management software system provider, claims that good computer systems can streamline administration and make the process of ensuring vehicle compliance more robust.   Key2’s Defect Manager Module has been developed to aid commercial vehicle operators in controlling costs as well as ensuring legal compliance.
The technology provides an online tick box check list for the completion of a walk-round appraisal of all vehicles.
Hopefully, many are likely to record ‘nil’ defects, but any work that is required can be easily recorded and then arrangements made for the vehicle to be booked into a workshop for defect rectification.
The system provides companies with a complete online auditable trail of vehicle checks and rectification work undertaken to ensure legal and industry best practice health and safety regulations compliance.
Data from the DVSA for 2014/15 revealed that 49% of Class seven vans (3-3.5 tonnes gross vehicle weight) had a first-time MoT failure rate. Although, the DVSA was unable to separate cars and vans up to three tonnes (Class three and four vehicles) in its statistics it is possible that light commercial vehicle failure rate in that sector could be similar.
The major reasons for large vans failing the MoT were: lighting and signalling (30% of tests), brakes (20.9%), suspension (15.7%) and driver’s view of the road (10.1%). Figures were broadly unchanged in recent years.
Furthermore, DVSA vehicle enforcement mechanical checks at the roadside and at operators’ premises in 2014/15 on light goods vehicles revealed a 62.8% prohibition rate with poor tyre condition the major defect identified. Additionally, 2,174 weight checks were carried out with 1,922 (88.4%) prohibition notices issued.
Turning to HGV enforcement checks at the roadside and operators’ premises in 2014/15 and inspectors made 36,553 mechanical checks issuing 11,326 prohibition notices (31%) with brake systems and tyre condition highlighted as the most significant defects. Furthermore, 2,191 vehicles weight checks were undertaken and 1,304 prohibition notices issued (59.5%) and following 36,617 drivers’ hours checks, 4,530 prohibition notices were issued (12.4%).
Jaama, an Associate member of the Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme (FORS) and a partner to the Freight Transport Association’s Van Excellence scheme, is firmly focused on helping fleets achieve compliance best practice with its Key2 product and associated consultancy.
Jaama managing director Martin Evans said: “Legislative compliance is essential and gives many conscientious transport managers sleepless nights, but DVSA statistics would suggest that not all operators are taking their legal obligations so seriously.
“Prohibition notices impact hugely on business efficiency, but they can quickly be consigned to history by implementing straight forward policies and procedures including 10-minute walk round checks on vehicles with a focus on tyre, brake and bodywork condition before setting off on journeys.
“Ensuring vehicles are maintained in a safe and fit condition starts in-house with daily driver defect checks. It then continues with any remedial action being undertaken promptly to prevent any ‘defect’ from worsening and ‘unsafe’ vehicles taken off the road.”