The Driver & Vehicle Agency is committed to ensuring road safety and to contributing to the reduction in road deaths and casualties.
The Agency has produced guides for safe operators and to maintaining vehicle roadworthiness which explain the responsibilities and systems required to ensure vehicles are operated legally and safely on the road. For more information follow these links:
The Safe Operators Guide
A Guide to Maintaining Roadworthiness
Your responsibilities for maintaining your vehicles
The Driver CPC is a qualification for professional bus, coach, and lorry drivers. It has been introduced across Europe with the aim of improving road safety by helping drivers obtain, maintain and develop their professional skills and knowledge including:
Eco safe and fuel efficient driving
Defensive driving techniques
Health and safety
Loading a vehicle safely
Complying with relevant rules and regulations such as drivers hours
Being aware of the risks on the road and accidents at work
More information on Driver CPC can be found at the following link:
Drivers Hours and tachograph legislation is designed to improve road safety and working conditions within the road transport sector. It does so by determining maximum driving times and regular rest periods. For more information on drivers hours and tachographs follow this link:
Rules on Drivers’ Hours and Tachographs
Graduated Fixed Penalties are penalties offered by DVA Enforcement Officers in relation to certain driver and vehicle related offences. Depending on the nature of the offence, drivers found to be non compliant with legislative requirements may be offered a fixed penalty in lieu of prosecution in court.
The Road Traffic (NI) Order 2007 (RTO) secured new powers to help aid the enforcement of vehicle related offences. The main benefit of these powers is to simplify the enforcement of offences dealt with by the Driver & Vehicle Agency. The scheme will help to reduce road hazards by making freight and taxi drivers and their vehicles more compliant.
For more information on fixed penalties see this link:Graduated Fixed Penalties
The DVA Enforcement Strategy has an objective to pursue an intelligence led targeted approach against the most non compliant sectors of the industry. This objective arises from EC directives on risk rating of operators and EC regulations on taking action against operators committing most serious infringements, for example, in respect of driver’s hours, unroadworthiness and overloading.
In addition DVA seeks to make the maximum use of resources by applying its efforts against the most non compliant operators and enabling the legitimate operator to work with a minimum of regulatory interference.
How does DVA identify non compliant operators?
DVA will determine the level of compliance risk an operator poses by collecting data from surveys, enforcement activity, vehicle test history, convictions, operator audits and licensing.
The level of compliance risk an operator poses will be determined by the size of the operator’s fleet against the number and severity of offences committed over a period of time.
Offences committed by drivers and transport managers will count towards an operator’s compliance risk.
Q. What action will DVA take against non compliant operators?
DVA will target resources against the most non compliant operators by conducting operator audits, special investigations, and roadside targeting.
Many operators who warrant such enforcement action will be referred to the Transport Regulator who will determine if the operator and, if appropriate, the transport manager are competent and fit to operate a transport business.
How do I become more compliant?
Adhere to the regulations, implement the recommendations in the industry guides and codes of practice, use the DVA Safe Operators Guide and the Guide to Maintaining Roadworthiness.
Do I risk losing my operator’s licence if I am non compliant?
Yes, there is a high risk that serious or continued non compliance will result in your operator’s licence being restricted, suspended or revoked.
Transport Managers should note they risk being declared unfit to manage transport activities if found to have committed serious offences.
The Motor Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations and the Road Traffic Orders legislated for the maximum weights permitted in normal circumstances on the roads in Northern Ireland.
For more information on vehicle weights follow these links:
A Guide to Goods Vehicles Weights
VOSA Vehicle Safety – Danger of Overloading
Q. What is an operating centre?
An operating centre is a base or centre specified on the operator’s licence at which vehicles, which are authorised to be used under that operator’s licence, are normally kept.
Q. How many operating centres can I specify on my operator’s licence?
There is no restriction on the number of operating centres that can be specified on an operator’s licence but each centre must be available and suitable for use as an operating centre.
Q. Can I park my vehicles on the public road, lay-bys or in industrial estates?
Your vehicles cannot be normally kept on the public highway. When parked on the public highway they must comply with the relevant road traffic legislation taking account of the Highway Code. The Department expects that in most circumstances of this nature the vehicle would be attended.
Q. What size of operating centre do I need?
The capacity of the operating centre(s) specified must be sufficient to accommodate all vehicles used under the operator’s licence. The Department will take into account any other use of the operating centre when determining if the capacity is sufficient.
Q. Is there a restriction on where an operating centre can be located?
When making an application for an operator’s licence objections or representations can be made by others as to the suitability of the specified operating centre. The Department will consider these and may either refuse the application, place conditions on the use of the specified operating centre or seek for an alternative operating centre to be provided.
Q. Will an inspection of my operating centre be carried out?
The Department may carry out an operating centre inspection as a result of objections or representations either before the grant of an operator’s licence or during the currency of such a licence. There is also provision in the Goods Vehicle Act for a five yearly review for operating centres which may result in a site visit.
Q. What authority do the Department’s officials have to inspect my operating centre?
An authorised person shall at any time which is reasonable having regard to the circumstances have the power to enter and inspect any premises which are used or intended to be used in connection with the carriage of goods by road.
Q. What facilities do I need at my operating centre?
There is no requirement to have maintenance and servicing facilities at your operating centre but the Department needs to be satisfied that you have appropriate arrangements in place to ensure your vehicles are kept in a fit and serviceable condition.
Q. What will an operating centre inspection entail?
The Department will report on various aspects including the local area, the access and egress from the premises, the size and construction, the capacity for parking and manoeuvring vehicles, any other uses of the premises and the presence or otherwise of maintenance, servicing and washing facilities. This report will be provided to the Transport Regulation Unit for their consideration.
Q. What happens if I use an operating centre that is not specified on my operator’s licence?
You could be prosecuted and fined a maximum of £2,500. The Transport Regulator may also place restrictions or conditions on your operator’s licence.
Q. Who do I contact if I have information about an unapproved operating centre?
You can contact the Intelligence Unit of the Driver & Vehicle Agency on 028 9025 4101.
For more information on premises and property follow this link:Premises and Property (VOSA)
Schedule 2 of the Goods Vehicles (Licensing of Operators) Act (Northern Ireland) 2010 (GVA) makes provisions that where an authorised person has reason to believe that a goods vehicle is being used or has been used on a road without an operator’s licence then the authorised person may detain the vehicle and its contents. The owner of an impounded vehicle has the legal right to apply for restoration of their vehicle
Q. When will impounding happen?
Impounding might happen in one of the following circumstances (but will not always be limited to these circumstances) –
The operator has had its licence revoked by the Transport Regulator
The operator has been warned or prosecuted by Driver & Vehicle Agency for operating without a licence
There have been repeated applications for a licence but no authority to operate has been given by the Transport Regulator
The operator has used an operator’s licence identity disc issued to another operator
Q. What is a notice of detention?
Where a vehicle has been detained DVA shall publish a notice in the Belfast Gazette giving a brief description of the property detained and the vehicle registration mark (if any), indicating the time and place at which it was detained and the powers used. It also lists those persons who should be served with a notice of detention, including the Traffic Regulator.
The Notice must also describe the procedure for making an application for the return of the vehicle and/or the contents and in particular what might happen if no one claims it within the specified period. The specified period must be a minimum of 21 days beginning with the date on which notice is published or, if later, a copy of the notice is served.
Q. What other persons should be served with a notice of detention?
The owner of the vehicle
The Chief Constable
The association of British Insurers
The British Vehicle Rental & Leasing Association where the vehicle was hired from a vehicle-hire firm under a hiring agreement
Q. How do I apply for the return of my vehicle?
Within the 21 day period beginning with the date on which notice is published or, if later, a copy of the notice is served you can apply in writing to the Traffic Regulator for the return of the vehicle accompanied by a statement of one or more grounds specified in regulations and a statement indicating whether the applicant wishes the Traffic Regulator to hold a hearing.
Q. What are these one or more grounds for return of a vehicle specified in regulations
The grounds are that:
At the time the vehicle was detained, the person using the vehicle held a valid operator’s license (whether or not authorising the use of the vehicle)
At the time the vehicle was detained, the vehicle was not being, and had not been used as a goods vehicle on the road without an operator’s licence
Although at the time the vehicle was detained it was being, or had been used as a goods vehicle on the road without an operator’s licence, the owner did not know that it was being, or had been so used or
Although knowing that at the time the vehicle was detained that it was being or had been, used as a goods vehicle on the road without an operator’s licence the owner had
Q. What happens if I request a hearing before the Traffic Commissioner?
- 1. Taken steps to with a view to preventing that use; and
- 2. Has taken steps to with a view to preventing any further such use
The Transport Regulator must hold a hearing if requested to do so by the applicant within 28 days of receipt of the application at a time and place specified by the Transport Regulator.
Q. When will I know the outcome of a hearing?
Within 14 days of the conclusion of the hearing
Q. Can I appeal against the Transport Regulators decision?
Yes an appeal may be made to the Transport Tribunal against the Transport regulators decision and must be made within 28 days after the date of the Transport Regulators decision.
Q. I own a rental company what can I do if impounding action is taken against one of my business customers?
Contact the British Vehicle Rental & Leasing Association (BVRLA) it is recognised in the legislation as a body to whom automatic notification of seizure will be made by DVA. They will also provide members with advice on impounding for further information see website:
British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association