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Ease Off: Brake Testing Best Practice in Spotlight Once More

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Brake testing best practice is hitting the haulage headlines once again.

 

This time, the Traffic Commissioners of Great Britain have issued a warning to operators: it is vital they up the standard of their brake performance testing.

 

Concerns have risen in the TC’s office after a spate of roadside and premises inspections found an alarmingly lax approach to brake testing. Many operators enforced no brake testing at all.

 

After DVSA’s recent reminder of best practice guidelines, the authorities are clamping down on what they call ‘across the board’ failures in testing commercial vehicle brakes.

 

Brake Testing Best Practice Failures

 

According to the TC, most offending operators were guilty of one or more of the following:

 

  • Not recording the brake tests sufficiently
  • Failing to record the brake tests at all
  • Not carrying out the tests at the required frequency

 

A release from the TC’s office declares: “Despite the clear warnings for industry, traffic commissioners are still receiving reports about a lack of effective and proactive brake performance testing regimes.

 

“This is not limited to a specific type of licence, size of operator or a particular sector – it is across the board. That is why TCs are highlighting the need for a change of attitude within the industry towards brake testing.

 

“There should be no compromise in any operator’s approach, no flexibility around standards.”

In the dark: government sheds light on the cavalier culture around brake testing best practice
In the dark: government sheds light on the cavalier culture around brake testing best practice

 

Coming off the back of the Bath manslaughter case of December 2016, this year has seen heightened scrutiny granted the braking performance of HGVs.

 

Given the number of recent public inquiries in which failures of this kind have been discovered, the sense of urgency remains. One potential cause of the problem is the lack of up-to-date knowledge among operators. Indeed, many fleet managers are increasingly in the dark as to best practice.  This, in part, may be due to the rapid pace at which the road transport industry’s moving. As technology advances, safety improves; legislation must redouble its efforts to keep up.