The traffic commissioners (TCs) and the DVSA have urged operators to improve their approach to brake testing and maintenance after the DVSA revealed a quarter of defective trucks had a brake issue.
The TCs said brake defects and shortcomings in brake maintenance procedures are appearing “far too frequently” at public inquiries, with some operators failing to carry out testing at the required frequency, or at all.
According to the DVSA, more than one in 10 UK- and overseas-registered HGVs stopped by its enforcement staff attracts a prohibition for a defect of some sort. Its fleet compliance check survey for 2016/17, which looks at a random sample of in excess of 6,000 vehicles, showed that brake defects represented 28% of the mechanical defects identified in UK-registered HGVs; 44% in UK trailers; 33% in non UK-registered HGVs and 42% in non-UK registered trailers.
The prohibition rate for overseas-registered HGVs was 12.5% last year, compared to 11% for UK-registered trucks. Some 18.3% of non-UK trailers checked attracted a prohibition, compared to 11.7% of trailers pulled by UK-based businesses.
DVSA chief executive Gareth Llewellyn said: “Brakes that don’t work, particularly in something with the weight and power of a lorry, can devastate families and their communities. So it’s disappointing that a minority of operators are still not performing effective checks.
“If we catch you with brakes that don’t work we will take your vehicles off the road to ensure the safety of the travelling public.”
Sarah Bell and Kevin Rooney, lead TCs for enforcement matters, said: “Despite the clear warnings for industry, traffic commissioners are still receiving reports about a lack of effective and proactive brake performance testing regimes.
“This is not limited to a specific type of licence, size of operator or a particular sector – it is across the board. That is why TCs are highlighting the need for a change of attitude within the industry towards brake testing.”