DVSA crackdown on defective fuel systems

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DVSA (Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency) has announced it is to take a ‘more robust approach’ to vehicles with defective fuel systems.

‘It’s not acceptable to contaminate the road surface or to drive a vehicle in such poor condition that a fuel spill is likely,’ the agency said.

It comes in the wake of a Highways Agency (HA) report on the effect of diesel fuel spills on the road network, which resulted in the Department for Transport (DfT) asking DVSA to review the sanctions issued at the roadside for vehicles with defective fuel tanks and systems.

Last year HA reported 255 fuel spills, including on dual carriageways and motorways, resulting in lane closures and significant delays. The risks to road safety are obvious, but what you may not know is that it takes on average five hours to clear a fuel spill. You can imagine the disruption this causes to traffic. During roadside checks between 2013 to 2014, DVSA examiners detected 2,390 fuel system defects and issued over 1,500 prohibitions to vehicles with defective fuel systems.

DVSA said it has reviewed its sanctions for defective fuel systems and agreed some changes with DfT. The main difference is that immediate prohibitions will now only issued for defective fuel systems and leaks.

An immediate prohibition will be given for a missing or ineffective fuel cap or sealing arrangement; for a fuel leak caused by a defect, contaminating the road surface; or for an

insecure fuel tank where detachment is imminent.