Being granted an operator licence brings with it certain obligations that need to be upheld. One of these is vehicle safety. It's imperative, that an operator is committed to maintaining vehicles in a fit and serviceable condition. The Guide to Maintaining Road Worthiness is accessed via the GOV.UK website and explains the responsibilities and systems involved in keeping vehicles in a roadworthy condition, regardless of operating conditions, fleet size or vehicle type. Following this guide should meet all the conditions of O licencing. Operators can deviate from the guide but must be able to prove they are maintaining the standards required.
In addition to scheduled safety inspections, driver walk-around checks are essential to any vehicle safety system. All vehicles should be checked before going out on the road, and drivers should remain vigilant to any changes that could affect the roadworthiness of the vehicles whilst en route. To encourage drivers to complete the checks thoroughly, each time, it is strongly recommended that a nil defect reporting system is implemented, so drivers sign off a check, irrespective of any faults being identified. Drivers must report promptly any defects or symptoms of defects that could adversely affect the safe operation of vehicles. Provision should be made to record details of any rectification work done and all records must be kept for at least 15 months.
The general principles apply equally to light goods and passenger vehicles below the operator licensing thresholds and for otherwise exempt vehicles. Basically, all vehicles using the public highway need to be in a roadworthy condition to keep both drivers of the vehicles and the public safe.