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The Guide to Maintaining Roadworthiness: How to remain compliant with new road regulations        

The DVSA’s Guide to Maintaining Roadworthiness (GTMR) – a logistics business’s handbook for driving on Britain’s roads and keeping themselves and their vehicles compliant – was updated in April 2023 to improve guidance to operators and maintenance providers.  

In this article, Phil Lloyd, Head of Engineering Policy at Logistics UK, outlines the changes made to the guide.   


One of the more meticulous changes that runs throughout the guide refers to the wording used in relation to when an action has failed to be done. If the guide specifies that something ‘must’ be done, it is a legal requirement. However, if the phrasing ‘should’ is used, then then it is only recommended.   

It is important to note that a Traffic Commissioner (TC) may still query why a suggested action listed in the guide has not been carried out, so operators should still consider it to show an informed decision has been made.    


A new regulation within the GTMR relates to Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) and aligns with the requirements for checking systems that include Advanced Emergency Braking Systems (AEBS) and Lane Departure Warning Systems (LDWS), which were developed and recommended by Logistics UK.  

Drivers must now be informed of the functionality of the vehicle they are driving and what action needs to be taken should any of these become defective.   

It’s recommended that operators ensure all drivers, including agency staff and new employees, are familiar with the different types of ADAS fitted across the fleet.  

Businesses need to retain a documented policy on action to be taken if the ADAS system is defective or is deactivated.    


A second item covers vehicle safety recalls and outlines that operators must record a vehicle safety recall notification and evidence of rectification on the vehicle maintenance file.   

DVSA advises that the operator should take a vehicle out of service immediately if the recall notification is urgent until the safety recall is actioned. They should get advice from the manufacturer about the nature and severity of the recall.   


In addition to safety recalls, any new vehicles and trailers that have been added to a fleet must now undergo a first-use inspection – not including third party trailers – and DVSA is pushing operators to adopt this practice. The inspection should cover all aspects of an MOT test as standard, but also include a laden roller brake test.   

However, there are exceptions to this, which state the above is not necessary if the vehicle/trailer has had a recent safety inspection, it has been subject to a comprehensive pre-delivery inspection (new vehicle), or a pre-rental inspection record has been provided by a hire/lease company (rental vehicle).   

The requirement for when a vehicle can be returned to service after an inspection has now changed to specify that the transport manager, person responsible, or delegated individual must have access to the paperwork or an electronic record before the vehicle/trailer is put back into service.  

It’s understood that this is not always possible, so by exception a written confirmation declaring the vehicle is roadworthy may be accepted.   


When towing another business’s trailer, operators must ensure that the trailer is safe to use and inspected every 13 weeks as agreed by TCs. Drivers are also required to carry out a walkaround check and are responsible for recording any defects and if found, how they were repaired before use.   

In addition to this, the operator must be able to gain access to other maintenance records such as the current safety inspection reports including brake tests, current MOT certificate and the Electronic Braking Performance Monitoring System (EBPMS) report if applicable.  

Logistics UK recommends that operators should discuss these conditions with the company they are towing the trailers of to ensure they can meet the requirements.    

Regarding the trailer itself, it’s down to the business that owns it to carry out routine maintenance including safety inspections, completing any manufacturers’ safety recalls and ensuring relevant documentation is available for the trailer user.  

Access to this documentation is vital, especially for operators towing a non-UK registered third-party trailer, as a current MOT confirming the trailer has been recently maintained and is roadworthy is legally required to align with the GTMR.  

TCs are resolute that where an operator or transport manager is not satisfied with the condition of the trailer, then it is imperative that they do not use it.   


DVSA recommends that small trailers weighing up to 3.5 tonnes with overrun brakes are tested through a laden road test with brake temperatures checked.

However, Logistics UK has challenged this on behalf of its members and now there are two alternative methods available. These include a static test by using the hand brake to check progressive braking of each wheel and the correct operation of the park brake or gradient test.   

Logistics UK recognises that brake testing is a complex issue for operators and so, through discussions with DVSA, has come to an agreement on the following items.   

  • From April 2025 it will be a requirement for all safety inspections to include either a laden brake test, or, if the vehicle/trailer has an EBPMS report,  an evaluation of said report will need to be done. This update comes from TCs encouraging operators to adopt and comply with legal requirements to ensure brakes are maintained to satisfactory standards.   
  • For businesses which use third-party maintenance providers for safety inspections or have vehicles/trailers on lease, then operators must use this time window to implement these changes before the requirement comes into effect.   

A significant change for users of the GTMR to notice is that brake testing can only be carried out up to seven days prior to the safety inspection and is no longer allowed to take place afterwards.   

Decelerometer tests are still permitted but will now require the recording of each wheel temperature, which must be recorded on the safety inspection report, to  ensure that each brake performs adequately.   

Brake test printouts are required to assess potential issues that are identified in the process but have not failed the test. It will need to be signed and dated by the vehicle inspector and kept on file.    


Logistics UK prioritises its members’ safety and wellbeing within the industry by leading multiple sessions with transport managers, both in person and online, as well as offering telephone support via its Member Advice Centre to advise on new legislation and on how to keep employees safe and compliant in undertaking their jobs.  

The business group will continue to provide resources and learning opportunities for its members to ensure they remain up to date and informed of any new regulations or changes.   

Logistics UK has produced a compliance guide for operators and vehicle owners on brake test reports, which is available for Logistics UK members to download here: www.logistics.org.uk/CMSPages/GetFile.aspx?guid=9758d975-2396-4ebe-9700-f561d9b31032&lang=en-GB   

To view the updated GTMR published in April 2023, please visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guide-to-maintaining-roadworthiness   

Published On: 24/08/2023 13:00:00


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