Legal update: November 202005 November 2020

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'Do you recognise these brakes?’

DVSA has issued a warning and call for information about aftermarket brake drums fitted to Scania P400 lorries. It reports two cases where aftermarket drums, which were not manufactured or supplied by Scania, have failed on P400 lorries. Both were left without front braking and were fully laden.

The drums failed in the same way when the braking surface fractured and separated from the mounting ring. It is believed that this was not due to normal wear and tear.

So far, DVSA has been unable to identify the manufacturer. It is asking operators to report if they have similar drums fitted to their lorries, as well as the supplier.

DVSA can be reached by telephone on 0117 9543425 or emailing Vehicle safety defects can also be reported on DVSA’s online vehicle recalls and faults service via


Bridge strikes

In light of the recent series of bridge strikes across the country, senior traffic commissioner Richard Turfitt sent commercial vehicle operators a letter in September (

Operators that experience a bridge strike should be aware that in addition to the obvious other consequences, they are likely to be called to a public inquiry. Regulatory action is a real possibility for those operators who fail to take appropriate control measures to prevent bridge strikes, as well as drivers.

To that end, traffic commissioner statutory document 1 (good repute and fitness) has been updated with significant additions in relation to bridge strikes and collisions with infrastructure, with reference to Network Rail guidance (see also The letter also sets out measures that operators should take.


New rules

In September, ‘refreshed and updated’ statutory documents were published that explain the way traffic commissioners will approach the exercise of their statutory functions for licensing and regulating the operation of commercial vehicles.

Most of the changes have been made to bring the legal position up to date and incorporate recent key upper tribunal cases. They also now include hyperlinks to improve navigation around the documents and to provide direct access to the upper tribunal decisions referred to.

The most substantial changes of any of the statutory documents have been made to No. 6, which relates to vocational driver conduct (accessible via, there is mutual recognition of driver disqualification between the GB and Republic of Ireland. Second, abusive behaviour towards officials will now receive official notice. Third, in addition to six points on the licence, a vocational driver found using a mobile phone will automatically face other penalties.


Removing prohibitions

During the COVID-19 lockdown, ATF annual test inspections were stopped and temporary measures for prohibition removals were put in place. These are now changing. From 28 September 2020, all ‘S’ marked prohibitions that cannot be removed at the roadside will need to be inspected by DVSA at an ATF.

If the vehicle is being used with a certificate of temporary exemption or the annual test certificate is over six months old, the vehicle will be referred for a full removal inspection. A new annual test certificate will be issued with the removal notice once a pass result is achieved.

Vehicles with an annual test certificate less than six months old will be referred for a partial inspection, where a removal notice will be issued.

Prohibitions issued for an annual test dangerous fail or police-issued prohibitions will be removed through the usual process of a DVSA inspection at the ATF.

Removal inspections for all other items will continue to be done at the roadside or by the remote enforcement office (REO). Drivers will be guided at the time of the prohibition on how to get it cleared.

Backhouse Jones

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