Haulage operators have been accused of ignoring road safety and posing “an immense risk” to the public after data showed the roadworthiness prohibition rate soared just three months after an MOT.

The DVSA said its analysis of a large sample of commercial vehicle encounters showed that 10 times more prohibitions are issued three months after an annual test.

Its examiners encountered a 25 percentage point increase in prohibitions compared to the first month after the annual test.

The data showed that during the first month, its examiners identified 213 roadworthiness defects in lorries.

However, by the third month, this figure had increased to 2,161 defects.

The enforcement agency said the findings indicated an over reliance among operators on the MOT to pick up on maintenance issues and failures with maintenance inspections. It said the prohibitions being picked up included illegal tyres which are worn and cut; defective suspension, steering and brakes. Other issues identified included faulty indicators and brake lights.

The DVSA said more than 60% of HGV prohibition defects should have been identified and reported by the driver had they carried out thorough walkaround checks, or if the checks done by them had been acted on by the company.

Operators agree to planned and preventative maintenance as part of the O-licence commitment. They have a responsibility to prioritise vehicle maintenance and to check that third-party providers are carrying out the necessary work on their behalf.

Neil Barlow, DVSA head of vehicle policy and engineering, said: “This data indicates a concerning lack of care for road safety by some operators.

“Heavy vehicles travelling at speed pose an immense risk to road users if not properly maintained.

“I am calling on all operators to make sure that regular maintenance is being carried out on their vehicles all year round to avoid any potential disruption or dangerous incidents.”

Logistics UK director Kevin Green said it was working with the industry to raise awareness of the issue. “The safety of all road users must remain a top priority for industry and ensuring vehicles are regularly maintained forms a key part of this,” he added.