VOSA Roadside Checks
Roadside checks are held all over the country, at the roadside and at permanent sites, some equipped with weighbridges. Checks cover: vehicle inspections, to check for defective components and overloading; and, driver and operator compliance regarding vehicle excise duty, inspection and analysis of tachograph charts and other road traffic offences. If any non-compliance is found a range of sanctions are available to examiners to deal with the offence.
Some roadside checks are limited to particular areas of concern such as exhaust emissions, tyres and lighting. These are carried out by Vehicle Examiners on all types of vehicle including cars and light vans. If the vehicle exhaust emissions exceed the legal limits then a prohibition may be issued.
What happens at a spot-check?
Vehicles are selected for examination and are directed to the check site by a police officer or VOSA Enforcement Support Officers (VESO), who like the police are able to stop vehicles for checking. During mobile checks the police officer or VESO will direct you to the temporary check site. Once at the check site your vehicle will be examined by VOSA Traffic and Vehicle Examiners.
A Traffic Examiner will inspect your vehicle to ensure its compliance with construction and use standards. They will also check compliance with;
- drivers hours requirements
- excise duty, operator and driver licensing
When determining compliance with driver licensing Traffic Examiners will check the details given by the driver at the side of the road, against those held on DVLA’s database to ensure that the driver has the correct licence entitlement.
The Vehicle Examiner will inspect and check the roadworthiness of vehicles in terms of their mechanical condition.
VOSA also takes part in multi agency checks which involves checks by other enforcement agencies including Customs and Excise, Department of Social Services, Immigration and others.
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Should I receive any paperwork after the examination?
This will depend on what checks have been carried out and what you need to be informed about.
Under the Hazchem Directive, for every Inspection of a dangerous goods vehicle by a Traffic Examiner an EEC directive form will be completed as required by The Department for Transport. The driver will be issued with a duplicate copy for information.
Drivers will also be given a guidance sheet pointing out the dangers of overloading and how to take preventative measures against it.
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Is any special equipment used?
VOSA’s examiners will use a range of equipment according to the nature of the checks being carried out:
- roller brake testers and heat sensors – for checking brake performance
- Smoke Meters and Exhaust Gas Analysers – for exhaust emissions
- Opacity Meters – for checking the level of tint in window glass
- Limiter Tester – for checking the set speed of Speed Limiters
Defects found either through a visual inspection or through the use of test equipment may result in further use of the vehicle being prohibited. Vehicles prohibited in these circumstances need to be re-examined to ensure the defects observed have been repaired.
Vehicles are weighed by Traffic Examiners using:
- Weighbridges - Dynamic weighbridge equipment comprises a single axle weigher linked to a console. Vehicles are usually weighed whilst in motion but can also be weighed whilst stationary.
- Weighbridges - A single weighing plate is connected to an indicating mechanism, vehicles are weighed whilst stationary.
- Weighbridges - Comprises of two or more independent static weighing plates connected to a single console. Vehicle are weighed whilst stationary.
- Weighpads - Portable Weighpads give the examiner the opportunity to weigh vehicles at locations not normally subjected to weight checks. They are easily transported and can be operated at any suitable site.
There is a code of practice for each type of equipment used by Examiners. Drivers will be given specific instructions.
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What if my vehicle or licence is found to be non-compliant?
A prohibition notice will be issued if non-compliance is discovered. A list of those prohibitions is detailed in the Roadside Prohibitions Issued page. When interviews are conducted with drivers/operators at the roadside under caution, notes are taken at the time. You will be asked specific questions relevant to the offence(s). Documentation may be retained as evidence and a receipt issued. Further investigation will take place which could lead to prosecution.
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What happens if my vehicle is found to be overloaded?
If the weight recorded is above the permitted limit the Examiner will issue the driver with an Overloaded Prohibition Notice, (which may contain particular conditions). A copy of a prohibition notice will be sent to the owner of the vehicle. In the case of 'O' Licensed vehicles the Traffic Commissioner will also be notified.
Examiners have the discretion to direct the vehicle to a nearby facility where a proportion of the goods carried can be off-loaded or the load re-distributed.
If there is no record of previous offending, then no prosecution action will be taken. Repeat offenders (whether driver or operator) will be prosecuted.
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