Another Compliance Step in the Right Direction

Earlier this year the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) announced their new voluntary Earned Recognition Scheme (ERS) for Operating-Licence holders; a compliance scheme designed to raise operating standards. In its pilot programme, companies who met the correct criteria were invited to undergo a six-month trial programme, with the full scheme likely to be introduced industry-wide in 2018.

Under the ERS, participating companies allow the DVSA direct online access to their maintenance information and tachograph records. In return, the companies will be subject to fewer on-site and roadside inspections, allowing the DVSA to focus their time and efforts targeting non-compliant operators and providing less disruption to compliant companies.

Those who wish to join the scheme must have held an O-License for a minimum of two years and had no regulatory action taken against them, other than warnings, in the last two years. Businesses must also have an electronic system in place to manage maintenance and driver’s hours compliance and have a MoT pass rate of 95%. If all the criteria are met, operators must undergo a systems audit by a DVSA-approved auditor.

Companies wanting to adhere to the highest safety standards need to make use of all the technologies available to them. With other industry compliance schemes such as the Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme (FORS), the Construction Logistics and Community Safety scheme (CLOCS) and Crossrail Compliance already calling for the standard of operating to raised, it is now essential for fleet operators to integrate all safety measures possible.

Telematics solutions is the latest technology endorsed by Safety Solutions Experts. Installing telematics allows companies to clamp down on poor driver behaviour and begin to improve bad habits. Common problems faced by fleet operators, uneconomical driving and inefficient routing, can now be monitored remotely and issues can be addressed in a fraction of the time. With modern telematics systems now capable of linking to the CAN Bus, operators are now also able to see vehicle maintenance alerts as soon as they appear, providing pre-emptive maintenance opportunities so they can plan ahead.

Vehicle CCTV is another way for operators to not only raise their standards, but make big savings on fleet costs. An initial investment in on-board cameras, dependant on the system and vehicle, can often save operators thousands on insurance premiums and false insurance claims.

Industry compliances such as CLOCS and FORS are taking a positive approach to managing road risk, and with projects such as Crossrail refusing to allow vehicles on site without such compliance, we are seeing big leaps in the right direction. FORS themselves have recently announced a new Light Vehicle Working Group, a scheme for light commercial vehicle operators, to ensure that future standards and benefits of FORS are available to LCV operators too.

The DVSA’s new ERS is another good step, encouraging better practice and openness amongst operators. While the scheme has been in its trial phase, when the DVSA roll out the scheme nationwide, we expect to see a positive reaction in the standards of fleets across the country.

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