A senior official from the Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency has indicated at a recent conference that its current procedures are failing, suggesting a fundamental shift in its approach in the near future from enforcement to compliance and a desire to reduce the burden placed upon “exemplar operators”.
Caroline Hicks, the Head of Enforcement Transformation at the DVSA, told delegates at Coventry’s Microlise conference she wished to see a move towards telematics and remote enforcement. Roadside checks are a significant burden for the DVSA and hauliers alike,with Motor Transport reporting that the DVSA carries out roughly 10,000 roadside checks per month. Hicks also stated that a single roadside check on a major haulier could cost up to £4,000 and that it was both intrusive and not an effective method of reaching the entire haulage industry.
Hicks’ comments also suggested that a risk-based approach would emerge in the near future from DVSA. She referred to a light-touch earned recognition scheme for “exemplar operators” (similar to FORS) to reduce the burden of administration and cost upon those clearly meeting industry standards but conversely confirmed that serial non-compliant offenders would bear the brunt of the DVSA’s resources in a Continual Focused Targeting Regime.
If the DVSA follows through with these changes they should be welcomed by all corners of the haulage industry, albeit with a pinch of salt. A concentration upon remote enforcement and telematics may see an increase in enforcement actions for minor, technical breaches of the law. The light-touch exemplar operator scheme lacks detail at this stage and hauliers may be asked for significant access to operator records in order to verify their level of compliance.
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