The Transport Select Committee has raised concerns about Vosa’s enforcement focus, the rapid introduction of ATFs, and its seemingly dysfunctional relationship with traffic commissioners (TCs).

Speaking after the publication of the Work of the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency report today (19 July), Transport Select Committee chairperson Louise Ellman said:

“We were particularly concerned that problems relating to enforcement and resources which were raised by the TCs are not being properly addressed by Vosa.

“This points to communication problems that should not exist if the right structures are put in place.”

Ellman said the situation needed to be resolved urgently, and also called on the government to provide TCs with their own staff to strengthen their independence.

The report also questioned whether Vosa is paying enough attention to the road worthiness of big haulage firms, or choosing instead to focus on smaller operators, who, while more often not compliant, are less often on the road.

The pace of the ATF roll-out and its effect on vehicle safety standards is also highlighted. While the committee said it broadly welcomed the transition of testing from the public to the private sector, it is worried about the agency’s ability to provide enough testers to ATFs, and access for smaller operators in remote parts of the country.

“We are not persuaded that testing staff should be employed directly by ATFs but Vosa has an obligation to provide staff at the right places at the right times,” said Ellman. “Vosa should also bear in mind that a testing market that rests exclusively on ATFs may not be in the best interests of business generally.”

The report acknowledged Vosa’s success in enforcing road worthiness standards for non-GB vehicles, but said too many drivers’ hours and tachograph offences appeared to be going undetected.

It also suggested the additional enforcement required for the HGV Road User Levy next year will be a step too far, and that some of the revenue raised should be used to beef up Vosa’s enforcement resources.

A Vosa spokesman said: “We welcome the Transport Select Committee’s report which acknowledges the great work that Vosa does in helping to maintain Britain’s strong record on road safety.  We will consider the report and respond fully in due course.”

It was announced last month that Vosa and Driving Standards Agency would merge.