Operators Licences, VOSA and Maintaining Your Truck
Who are VOSA?
Before you can operate your truck or arrange truck insurance cover you'll need to apply for, and obtain an operators licence.
The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) was formed on 1st April 2003 following the merger of the Vehicle Inspectorate and the Traffic Area Network division of the Department for Transport. VOSA provides a range of licensing, testing and enforcement services with the aim of improving the roadworthiness standards of vehicles ensuring the compliance of operators and drivers with road traffic legislation, and supporting the independent Traffic Commissioners.
The requirment to hold an operators licence depends on your circumstances including what type of organisation you are, vehicle type and the intended use of your vehicle/s. A goods vehicle operators licence is needed to carry any goods or burden, in connection with any trade or business, where the gross vehicle weight (GVW) is more than 3.5 tonnes. This applies to both own goods and goods carried for hire and reward. There are various types of operators licences available; Standard national, Standard International and Restricted. Our advice would be to contact VOSA or your local traffic commissioner to discuss your requirements.
If you are exempt from holding an operators licence then you can proceed and arrange truck insurance cover, however if you are required to hold an operators licence then truck insurance cover cannot be placed until you have been granted your operators licence.
There are a total of eight traffic areas in mainland UK; Scottish, North Eastern, North Western, Eastern, Welsh, West Midlands, South Eastern and Metropolitan.
For more information on VOSA please click here
Decisions on Operators Licences
The Traffic Commissioner is responsible for the licencing of operators and they receive administrative support from VOSA. The application process involves the applicant meeting the standards set out to operate a vehicle of this type. Consideration is also given to minimise both the environmental and road safety impact around the proposed operating centre area.
It is important to remember that where you are required to hold an operators licence you must ensure that this has been granted to you before you commence operating your vehicle, otherwise you will be operating illegally.
It is also an insurer requirement that you hold a valid operators licence (where you are required to do so) before your truck insurance cover can be placed.
Maintaining your Truck
In addition to ensuring that you arrange truck insurance cover to meet your specific needs it is your responsibility as the vehicle operator to ensure that your vehicle is maintained in a safe, roadworthy condition. A declaration is made by the operator to the traffic commissioner to this effect and operators must comply with this. To meet this requirement vehicles must be inspected and this is carried out in two ways. Daily walkaround vehicle checks must be carried out together with regular safety inspections.
It is crucial that operators have a system for recording and reporting any vehicle defects, if the vehicles road worthiness is affected then repairers must be carried out prior to the vehicle being operated.
In addition to inspections the vehicle needs to be serviced at intervals as recommended by the vehicle manufacturer. After all your vehicle is your business tool so it's vital that it is properly maintained to minimise possible costly breakdowns and repairs.