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Roadside Checks - THE FACTS!


As a commercial driver, you might be asked to stop by the police or a Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) officer at the roadside. They can stop lorries, buses and coaches.

To help you understand what will happen during a roadside check and what can happen to you and/or your vehicle we have put together some clear easy to understand facts should you ever be stopped.

The police and DVSA have the power to carry out spot checks on your vehicle and issue prohibitions if necessary. A prohibition prevents you from driving until you get a problem with your vehicle fixed.

​Police and DVSA officers can also issue fixed penalties if you commit an offence. Some of these are graduated depending on the circumstances and seriousness of the offence.

​DVSA officers wear yellow visibility jackets with either the VOSA or DVSA logo, and they’ll always carry a DVSA warrant card. They should always show your card as proof of their identity.

​If you’re carrying a high-value load you can keep your engine running, doors locked and windows closed until you’re sure you’ve been stopped by a genuine police or DVSA officer.

​Their vehicles are marked with a black and yellow print on the side and either a VOSA or DVSA logo on the bonnet.

​The checks are carried out either at the roadside or at dedicated testing sites. The checks are used to keep unsafe vehicles off the road.

The officer checks that the vehicle isn’t breaking any rules and regulations. This includes:

  • checking authorised load weights and type of load permitted

  • checking vehicles for roadworthiness and mechanical faults

  • looking at your tachograph records

  • making sure you have a valid occupational driving licence

Your vehicle could be impounded if you commit a series of serious offences and It’s your responsibility to make sure your vehicle is roadworthy.

Foreign-registered vehicles are subject to the same rules as vehicles registered in the UK.

Not stopping when asked to by a uniformed officer is an offence. The incident will be officially recorded and you’ll be interviewed later on.

You may then face court action or be reported to the Traffic Commissioner, who may remove or suspend your operator’s licence if you fail to stop for a police or DVSA officer.

Officers will be checking that the vehicle is roadworthy and that the driver is compliant. You could be given a prohibition by a police officer or an officer from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA). You could either get an immediate or delayed prohibition, depending on how dangerous your vehicle is before the faults are fixed.

You could either be given an Immediate prohibition which means It’s likely your vehicle will be immobilised and you won’t be able to drive and you could also be prosecuted or you may be issued with a delayed prohibition. If you get a prohibition with a delayed effect, you’ll be able to drive your vehicle away and the operator will have up to 10 days to get it fixed. It will then need to be re-inspected and the prohibition removed before it can be used on the road again.

Different types of prohibition include:-

  • Overload prohibition notice

  • ·Roadworthiness prohibition (PG9)

  • ·‘S’ marked roadworthiness prohibition

  • ·Variation of roadworthiness prohibition

  • ·Drivers’ hours prohibition

  • ·Hazchem prohibition

Officers may also issue a fixed penalty to the driver of the vehicle at the roadside the amount you have to pay could depend on the circumstances and seriousness of the offence. It’s also possible you may be issued with penalty points as well. A free guide from the DVSA is available which gives details of the offence and penalty.

If you are stopped and don’t have a satisfactory UK address you will have to pay a financial penalty deposit. Your vehicle will be immobilised if you don’t pay the deposit.

Your vehicle will be immobilised if you’ve committed a serious enough offence to get an ‘immediate prohibition’.

An immediate prohibition is used to prevent risks to road safety (eg an unroadworthy vehicle or a tired driver). It means you won’t be able to drive your vehicle until the problem is sorted out.

DVSA or the police can also immobilise your vehicle at the roadside if an immediate prohibition is issued for any of the following reasons:

  • you’ve broken the rules on drivers’ hours and tachographs

  • your vehicle isn’t roadworthy

  • your vehicle is overloaded

  • you’ve been given a fixed penalty notice but can’t or won’t pay a financial penalty deposit

Not all vehicles given an immediate prohibition will be immobilised. Special circumstances will be considered, eg:

  • the type of load you’re carrying

  • if you’re carrying passengers on a public service vehicle who’d be inconvenienced if it was immobilised

If your vehicle is immobilised DVSA and the police use a steel cable secured by a padlock to immobilise vehicles. It’s fitted around the wheels of the vehicle and a warning notice is attached to the vehicle.

The notice tells you how to get the vehicle released. You have to:

  • satisfy DVSA that the causes of the immediate prohibitions have been dealt with

  • pay an £80 release charge

  • It’s an offence to remove the warning notice or interfere with the immobilising device.

DVSA has produced a guide to vehicle immobilisation with more information, including advice on how to avoid it.

So there you have it, all the facts you need to know if you get pulled over at the roadside. I think personally it’s much easier to keep your vehicles roadworthy and yourself legal and avoid all that stress!!


139 High Road, Whaplode, Spalding, Lincolnshire, PE12 6TX. Company No. 10315367  

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