3rd May, 2012
Haulage and PSV companies are being warned that they will be issued with a £80 fine to recover any vehicle which has been immobilised pursuant to a VOSA immobilisation notice.
Since 6 June 2011, VOSA examiners have been rigorously exercising their power to charge the £80 release fee for vehicles that have been immobilised for breaches of road transport regulations. This power extends to both UK and non-UK vehicles.
VOSA examiners have very broad powers to immobilise vehicles for any reason. In practice, however, they will only immobilise a vehicle where they have detected serious breaches of the regulations which affect road safety. These breaches include, but are not limited to, the following:-
– breaches of drivers’ hours regulations (excluding 45 minute break prohibitions);
– unroadworthy vehicles
– uninsured vehicles; and
– where fixed penalty deposits have not been paid.
The release fee is payable by the operator, or the driver on the operator’s behalf, and can be made to the examiner at the time of the immobilisation or upon removal of prohibitions.
There may be “special circumstances” where a VOSA examiner will decide not to immobilise a vehicle where a breach of the regulations has occurred; however, this tends to be limited to the situation where, for example, the vehicle is carrying perishable goods or where passengers would be inconvenienced if the vehicle was immobilised.
The most effective way to prevent VOSA immobilising your vehicle, and from paying the subsequent release fee, is to ensure that you have adequate maintenance procedures and drivers hours monitoring systems in place to ensure drivers and vehicles are compliant with all road transport rules and regulations.
If you wish to discuss the adequacy of your existing compliance systems, please contact Tim Culpin on 01244 405533 or by email to [email protected].