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Preventative Maintenance Inspections – Getting It Right!

It is a requirement under your operating licence that regular preventative maintenance inspections (PMI’s) are performed.  On your application, you would have identified how often you would undertake these important inspections. Having been granted your operating licence, would you be able to answer the following questions if a traffic examiner and/or a vehicle examiner were to come to visit, or if you were called to answer to the Traffic Commissioner at a Public Inquiry?

Who does them?

It does not matter who performs the PMI – it could be your mechanic or it could be an external garage. As long as the Traffic Commissioner’s Office knows who is undertaking your maintenance and you have a contract if it’s an external provider, then you are adhering to the rules.  

How often?

You would have decided how often the PMI’s would be carried out on your original licence application but you must ensure that you are still having the inspections at the correct interval.  You do not have to have the inspection to the day just as long at it is in the correct week.

What gets inspected?

The PMI is the time when the vehicle gets a full check and any defects are fixed to ensure the roadworthiness of the vehicle.  Therefore everything that could affect the roadworthiness of the vehicle must be checked.  If the PMI is done offsite then the operator must be sure that the external provider is doing a full check.  You should ensure that you get the paperwork back with the vehicle with signed certificates to show the vehicle is roadworthy.

How is that recorded?

There is no one definitive chart that needs to be completed as providers have their own paperwork but records must be kept of everything that was checked and whether there were any defects and how they were resolved.  These need to be kept for 15 months.  Standard PMI sheets can be provided by the trade associations such as Road Haulage Association, the Freight Transport Association and the Confederation of Passenger Transport.

Do you or your provider have a copy of the Statutory Guide to Maintaining Roadworthiness?  

This is a document produced by the Office of the Transport Commissioner and is available on their website.  It can be downloaded for free and its contents should be familiar to you and your provider.

Do you understand what the PMI report is telling you?

As the operator, it is your duty to ensure that you are compliant with road safety regulations.  Make sure you are given the complete picture by your provider.  Make sure that the PMI sheet is up to date and covers all the current requirements.  These can be found in the Guide to Maintaining Roadworthiness.

Brake testing as part of a PMI

It is a requirement to have roller brake tests three times a year, in addition to the annual test.  Good practice dictates that the printout of the roller brake test is attached to the PMI sheet following the inspections.  Interim testing may be carried out using a Tapley meter.  Printouts from this test will also need to be attached to the PMI.

AMD Solicitors in Bristol have a Road Transport and Traffic Law team that can assist if you’d like some more information regarding PMIs and operator licences. To contact our Bristol solicitors, you can call us on 0117 962 1205 or fill in our online contact form.


This article is provided for general information purposes only and represents our understanding of the relevant law and practice as at the date of uploading. This article should not be relied upon as legal advice pertaining to any specific factual situation. Legal decisions should be made only after proper consultation with a legal professional of your choosing.

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