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New roadworthiness checks to allay defect concerns post-lockdown

A new roadworthiness check feature for company cars and the grey fleet could help address concerns over increased numbers of defects following the extension to MOTs.

Terry Hiles, general manager, Licence Check

Licence Check’s Terry Hiles said the new checks could address concerns that growing numbers of cars may have major or dangerous defects following the MOT extension

To help slow the spread of the virus, drivers were granted a six-month exemption from MOT testing from 30 March. Since then, the Government has announced that mandatory testing must now restart from 1 August for all vehicles due an MOT after that date but extended vehicles will not be due a retest until the six-month period has expired.

It’s led to concerns that growing numbers of cars could have major or dangerous defects; the full six-month MOT extension is expected to see at least five million fewer tests carried out while official figures already show that over three million fewer MOTs were carried out in April and May this year compared with the same months in 2019. Research by Kwik-Fit suggests that over 30% of these vehicles would be considered unroadworthy, with dangerous or major defects apparent.

But the new Licence Check roadworthiness feature could help keep companies compliant and drivers safe by highlighting vehicle defects sooner.

The new function puts the onus on company and grey fleet drivers to carry out, and confirm they have carried out, basic essential checks to ensure the continuing safety of a vehicle used for work purposes.

The feature, which is an upgrade to existing services, is at no-additional cost to all current Fleet File and Grey Fleet users within Licence Check’s DAVIS cloud software solution for driver and vehicle compliance management – which is used to manage hundreds of thousands of company car and grey fleet drivers.

Once activated, DAVIS sends out an email to drivers advising that a roadworthiness check on their vehicle is due, typically at 30-day intervals, although employers can vary the interval depending on preference. The driver will then log into their account using the link in the email or via the DAVIS website and select the roadworthiness check.

The checks, which meet with Government guidance and best practice advice from motoring organisations, cover tyres, oil, fluids, lights, windscreen and other areas including brakes, warning lights and obvious damage. The whole process should only take a few minutes and can be completed on a mobile device or driver’s workstation, with results returned the same way

Where there is an issue, details can be immediately reported and recorded using a free text field.

Any failures are reported to managers via the DAVIS dashboard as an urgent action, enabling managers to drill down into each problem and assess whether any faults might compromise safety.

Terry Hiles, general manager at Licence Check, said: “Regular roadworthiness inspections of this nature should bring some defects to light sooner rather than later by requiring drivers to regularly perform basic inspections that all too often are simply overlooked, and importantly confirms they have carried them out.

“This not only ensures that employees meet their legal obligations to other road users in terms of the safety of their vehicle, but it provides a clear audit trail to show that basic safety checks have been carried out and that vehicles used for work remain reasonably fit for use,” he emphasised.

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.

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