New analysis by Direct Line Business Insurance has shown that thousands of vans risk being taken off the road for serious defects if stopped by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA).
The study showed that almost two-thirds (64%) of checks carried out on light goods vehicles by DVSA inspectors resulted in prohibitions being issued. And it’s warned that the DVSA is on track to issue van owners with over 6,800 prohibitions in the year to April 2024. Prohibitions typically refer to restrictions placed on vans or trucks due to safety concerns, which mean vehicles must be fixed within a certain number of days.
In the event of an immediate prohibition – issued for the highest severity defects – the vehicle is banned from being driven straight away.
The DVSA can also issue Fixed Penalty Notices of up to £300 and drivers could face three points on their driving licence, depending on the severity of the offence. The inspectors may also visit van operators’ premises and review maintenance records.
Mechanical defects such as tyre condition, faulty indicators and bodywork issues are the most common reasons for prohibitions being issued. However, two in five (40%) prohibitions over this financial year were issued for overloaded vans. But Direct Line says regular maintenance and vehicle walkaround checks can avoid this.
Eva Sandstra-Bennett, van product manager at Direct Line Business Insurance, said:
There are almost 4.5 million vans on Great Britain’s roads, travelling 92.6 billion kilometres a year. Average van age has been creeping up and now sits at almost nine years so it’s important operators carry out regular maintenance to ensure their vans stay roadworthy and reliable.
The most common reasons for prohibitions such as worn and damaged tyres, broken indicators, or lights and lose bodywork are easily spotted and relatively quick to fix. Overloading a van is tempting to often reduce the time a job may take when transporting materials or equipment, but it is an unnecessary risk that can put lives at risk and also damage the vehicle.
If an accident is caused by the failure to keep your van roadworthy, it could also invalidate your insurance. It’s important for van operators and drivers to regularly inspect and maintain their vehicles to ensure they meet safety and compliance standards. Regular vehicle checks, proper record-keeping, and adherence to regulations can help prevent the DVSA or police issuing you with a prohibition and help keep everyone on our roads safe.