Commercial vehicles suffer on average around five defects each year - equivalent to approximately one every 10 weeks - which may need them to be taken off the road, illustrating the huge number of unscheduled repairs that affect fleet operations, research by r2c Online has shown.

r2c, which provides connected software platforms for vehicle compliance and maintenance management, analysed every report in the past year on its systems and found that for the 1.3 million vehicles registered, over 6.2 million defects were raised during inspections either by drivers or technicians.

The researchers concluded that, if applied across the entire UK commercial fleet of more than an estimated 5.5 million vehicles, on any given day, there could be 75,400 defects on trucks and vans operating in the UK.

r2c warns that it is crucial that these are picked up, for road safety primarily but also to reduce the cost of unscheduled repairs which result in expensive downtime.

Ash Connell, r2c commercial director, said: “The issue of unscheduled repair is something which has always affected fleets, but our figures show that on average each vehicle will be hit by some problem every 10 weeks or so.

“This means that a thorough inspection process and efficient maintenance and repair systems for managing these problems is hugely important, or fleets will be hit by unplanned costs, delays for workshop time and interruptions to their operations.”

The report concludes that a robust inspection procedure between drivers and operators is essential, noting that there were 3.8 million daily reports through r2c’s Driver Pre-Use Check app alone in 2022, and 1.3 million further inspections.

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Connell said: "Our data shows that drivers and fleet operators can work hand-in-hand to ensure compliance and roadworthiness for their vehicles.

“It’s such an important area of fleet management, and the numbers we have illustrate how essential driver checks are to maintaining a safe fleet. They’re the people that see these vehicles every day, and with the regularity that problems occur they are a vital cog in the machine.."

The availability of repairers is also crucial to reduce VoR, Connell added, adding that r2c has nearly 1,700 workshops in its system.

“Our figures show that every single vehicle suffers a defect every 10 weeks or so. On average alone, that means in a 10-vehicle fleet, every week a fleet manager will be needing workshop space for unplanned work. Capacity should be a paramount concern for fleets when you understand the level of work needed,” he said.

r2c’s Vantage Point module highlights not only the amount of VoR days a fleet has incurred but the reason behind the VoR event. The information can help identify trends to enable the reduction of VoR time to fleets.

Phil Gudgeon, managing director of Cawleys Waste Management, which uses Vantage Point, said: “It’s now so much faster and easier to oversee how the fleet, workshop and staff are working across the business.

“On top of our Earned Recognition reporting, we receive performance statistics and measurements at our fingertips through Vantage Point. It provides real-time fleet reporting and the ability to provide customer information on request.”