Talk to one of our advisers

01502 533000

Beccles

01502 718700

Gorleston

01493 652204

Great Yarmouth

01493 849200

Halesworth

01986 872513

Lowestoft

01502 533000

Norwich

01603 510904

Time to Test the Brakes

lorrywheels

In December 2016 two men were convicted of manslaughter following an avoidable brake failure that resulted in the deaths of four people, including a young girl. Neither of the men drove the vehicle, but they were ultimately responsible, as the haulage boss and mechanic. One was sentenced to 7 ½ years, the other to 5 years and 3 months imprisonment. The case provides a stark reminder of the duty owed by vehicle operators, and one might have hoped that such cases would materially change behaviour.

A year on, it would appear that the situation has not improved as expected, and the Traffic Commissioners for Great Britain this week called upon operators to change their approach to brake performance testing, commenting that '...despite the clear lessons from the Bath manslaughter case, operators are simply paying lip service to brake performance testing. In many cases, there’s too little recorded on the brake test to offer a meaningful assessment. In others, no information is recorded at all.'

Testing of vehicles has revealed that these failures not limited to a specific type of licence, size of the operator or a particular sector – it is across the board.

The guidance makes clear that every safety inspection must include a metered assessment of the braking performance of vehicles and trailers. It adds that a road test method to assess the brake performance for all planned safety inspections will usually be inadequate.

Where deficiencies in brake performance are identified, either during use of the vehicle or trailer or at the safety inspection, a measured brake efficiency test must be carried out. The efficiency test must confirm the brakes are performing satisfactorily before the vehicle or trailer can be considered as roadworthy.

What you should do now

Operators should carry out an urgent review of their brake testing regime now. This should include an analysis of safety inspection records over the last 15 months, looking at whether the type of test and the information recorded is sufficient. Operators must make sure their brake tests are planned in line with DVSA guidance and satisfy themselves that the vehicles and trailers running under their licence are roadworthy.

We Can Help

We can assist with any road traffic issue so if you need assistance in understanding your obligations, representation before Traffic Commissioners or a criminal court, contact Rob Barley tel: 01502 533020 or email: r-barley@nortonpeskett.co.uk.

Share |

Visiting Us

  • Get Direction
    Address:
    148 London Road North
    Lowestoft
    Suffolk
    NR32 1HF
    United Kingdom

    Tel: 01502 533000
    Fax: 01502 533001
    DX: 41200 LOWESTOFT
    Email: enquire.lowestoft@nortonpeskett.co.uk
    Hours: Mon - Fri 09:00 - 17:00, Sat 09:00 - 12:30
  • Get Direction
    Address:
    18 Church Plain
    Great Yarmouth
    NR30 1NF

    Tel: 01493 849200
    Fax: 01493 849201
    DX: 745240 GREAT YARMOUTH 5
    Email: enquire.yarmouth@nortonpeskett.co.uk
    Hours: Mon - Fri 09:00 - 17:00
  • Get Direction
    Address:
    Exchange Square
    Beccles
    Suffolk
    NR34 9HP

    Tel: 01502 718700
    Fax: 01502 718709
    DX: 51450 BECCLES
    Email: enquire.beccles@nortonpeskett.co.uk
    Hours: Mon - Fri 0900 - 13:00, 14:00 - 17:00
  • Get Direction
    Address:
    Old Bank House
    66a Bells Road
    Gorleston
    Norfolk
    NR31 6AF

    Tel: 01493 652204
    Fax: 01493 653462
    DX: 41050 GORLESTON
    Email: enquire.gorleston@nortonpeskett.co.uk
    Hours: Mon - Fri, 09:00 - 17:00
  • Get Direction
    Address:
    52 Thoroughfare
    Halesworth
    Suffolk
    IP19 8AR

    Tel: 01986 872513
    Fax: 01986 875484
    DX: 51202 HALESWORTH
    Email: enquire.halesworth@nortonpeskett.co.uk
    Hours: Mon - Fri 09:00 - 13:00, 14:00 - 17:00
  • Get Direction
    Address:
    23 Cathedral Street
    Norwich
    Norfolk
    NR1 1LU

    Tel: 01603 510904
    DX: 5202 NORWICH
    Email: enquire.norwich@nortonpeskett.co.uk
    Hours: Mon - Fri 09:00 - 12:30, 13:30 - 17:00
Norton Peskett Solicitors