Legal update: January 202006 January 2020

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The consequences of failing to carry out adequate daily walk-around checks can be immensely dangerous for the operator, driver and other road users. A wheel loss, for example, could potentially cause life-threatening injuries to others and lead to a maintenance investigation or even a public inquiry for the operator.

Drivers are legally responsible for the condition of their vehicles, so it is their responsibility to carry out a walk-around check to ensure that the vehicle is roadworthy.

A record of the check must be made, and any safety defects must be reported and repaired before the vehicle is driven.

If a vehicle is driven by more than one driver during a day, then each driver should carry out their own walk-around check prior to using the vehicle to ensure that it is safe to drive.

It is also important for drivers to monitor the condition of their vehicles throughout the day and report any defects that may occur on the journey.

Operators should carry out audits of their driver’s daily walk-around checks to ensure that they are being carried out to a satisfactory standard.

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The government has proposed amending the rules on the information that must be disclosed to employers. The changes would mean that less serious offences of more than four years will not have to be disclosed once the rehabilitation period has ended.

In addition, the period for which sentences of four years or less and community sentences have to be disclosed will be reduced. The changes will not apply to those working with children or vulnerable adults, national security roles or positions of public trust.



New guidance has been released by DVSA on the categorisation of defects found at annual test and on roadside.

The changes include new guidance on how DVSA examiners will deal with defects such as engine malfunction indicator lamps, emission control system faults, lighting and number plate defects, indirect vision devices and modified seatbelts.

In addition, tyre pressure measurement at roadside encounters will be introduced for single fitment tyres.

Some examples of amendments for public service, heavy goods and agricultural vehicles include:

• A damaged, insecure or missing indirect vision device, subject to its severity, necessitates an immediate prohibition

• Engine or emissions malfunction indicator lamp illuminated or not following correct sequence (indicating a fault or insufficient reagent) will now result in a delayed prohibition

• Objects trapped between twin wheels is a new defect.

The guidance aims to help users to understand the DVSA’s inspection standards and is available via



If you think that a lorry, bus or coach driver is driving in an unsafe manner, or breaking any conditions of their operators’ licence – for example if a vehicle is overloaded, if a vehicle appears to be unroadworthy or giving off excessive amounts of smoke – then you can contact DVSA directly with your concerns.

Additionally, concerns that operators are breaking drivers’ hours rules or using an emission cheat device should also be reported.

Once DVSA has received this information, it will decide whether it is necessary to investigate the incident or to contact any other agencies such as the police.DVSA can report back about the outcome of any investigation.

Reports can be made anonymously by ringing 0800 030 4103 or emailing If the circumstances that you are reporting constitute a crime – such as drink driving or speeding – then this should be reported to the police: dial 999 for emergencies and 101 for non-urgent matters.

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