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DVSA revises its Guide to Maintaining Roadworthiness

  • 01 May 2014
  • By David Wilcox

As part of a revision to its Guide to Maintaining Roadworthiness the DVSA has added a new requirement for frequent, proper brake testing and introduced a new minimum safety inspection frequency for older trucks and trailers.

The new brake test requirement is a response to the number of test failures due to poor brake performance.

Says the guide: “It is strongly advised that a calibrated roller brake tester (RBT) is used at each safety inspection to measure individual brake performance and overall braking efficiencies for the vehicle or trailer.”

Vehicles or trailers should be laden and a printout of the braking result should be clipped to the safety inspection record.

DVSA says it is acceptable to use a calibrated decelerometer instead of an RBT, manually recording the results if there is no printout. DVSA says where it is impractical to obtain a brake efficiency result at a safety inspection, an assessment of braking performance by road test is acceptable, annotating the safety inspection to confirm this was done.

However, says DVSA, this is “usually inadequate” – hence the new requirement for at least three proper brake efficiency tests each year, as well as at the annual roadworthiness test. It is sure to boost revenue at the proliferation of ATF workshops.

Another important change in the 2014 roadworthiness guide addresses the statistic that shows test failure rate increases with age. Until now, the guide recommended intervals of between four and 13 weeks, depending on the annual distance covered and the severity of the work. Now there is an additional age-related element, stating inspection intervals should be no greater than six weeks if a vehicle or trailer is 12 or more years old.

The 2014 revision “clears up some grey areas and gives better guidance to operators, drivers and maintenance providers” claims the DVSA.


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