Heavy goods vehicles—enforcing transport compliance
Produced in partnership with Vikki Woodfine of DWF LLP

The following Corporate Crime practice note produced in partnership with Vikki Woodfine of DWF LLP provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Heavy goods vehicles—enforcing transport compliance
  • The DVSA
  • The police
  • Roadside inspections—practical considerations
  • Operator Compliance Risk Score
  • Powers of the regulators at the roadside
  • Prohibition notices
  • Immediate prohibition
  • Delayed prohibition
  • Fixed penalty notices
  • More...

Heavy goods vehicles—enforcing transport compliance

In England, Wales and Scotland, operator licences are issued by Traffic Commissioners. Traffic Commissioners are responsible for the licensing and regulation of those who operate heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) and passenger service vehicles (PSVs) as well as the registration of local bus services. An overview of the operator licensing system generally can be found in Practice Note: Goods vehicle licensing.

The enforcement of the standards and requirements set down in an operator's licence and under road transport law is the responsibility of the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) and the police.

The DVSA and the police have the power to stop vehicles and carry roadside checks on commercial vehicles and they have a number of powers afforded to them regarding action that they can take if any issues are identified. This Practice Note discusses roadside enforcement of compliance for commercial vehicles and the powers that the police and DVSA have to undertake such inspections and the enforcement action that they can take for non-compliance.


The DVSA has a number of roles when it comes to upholding driving and vehicle standards but the key roles relevant to the holders of operator licences are as follows:

  1. making sure commercial vehicle operators, their drivers and their vehicles meet roadworthiness standards and follow safety rules

  2. approving the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (DCPC) courses that

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