Member Advice Centre

FTA’s Member Advice Centre (MAC) is a telephone service for FTA members that provides access to our transport advisors. Our team will offer you expert advice and answers on your legal and operational questions from drivers' hours and working time through to vehicle maintenance standards and current legislation. 
 

The latest advice from the MAC 

Take a look at three of the most recent questions our MAC team have encountered ...

 

Dim View 

Q: One of our vehicles was stopped by DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency) enforcement and found to have a defective dipped beam headlamp. The enforcement officer issues an immediate prohibition and we as to send our maintenance provider out to the vehicle to replace a headlamp bulb to get the lamp working again. The enforcement officer then lifted the prohibition and we were allowed on our way. Should a faulty headlamp attract an immediate prohibition? 

A: The severity of the penalty for a defective headlamp will depend upon weather conditions when the vehicle is stopped, and time of day and will take into account whether or not dipped headlamps are required or will soon be required. The following extract is taken from the Categorisation of roadworthiness defects which is used as a guide for DVSA enforcement at the roadside: Prohibition action should be taken when a vehicle is encountered in the hours of darkness and where it can reasonably be assumed that vehicle is likely to be used where compulsory use of dipped headlamps is required. 

More advice on lighting, markers and reflectors

 

Tunnel Vision 

Q: We have a driver who insists on letting the heating system in the vehicle de-ice and de-mist the windscreen, which is fine except the driver will leave the depot before the windscreen is fully clear. I do not think this is compliant. Can you advise? 

A: It is essential and legally required that the driver has a clear view to the front of the vehicle. Construction and Use Regulation 104 states: No person shall driver or cause or permit any other person to drive a motor vehicle on a road if he is in such a position that he cannot have proper control of the vehicle or have a full view of the road and traffic ahead. In most cases this involves the fitment of satnav systems, mobile phone holder etc but the same applies to anything that obstructs the driver’s view and this could be ice or misting on the windscreen. 

View our winter checks blog for more advice

More details on workplace transport safety

 

Indelible Evidence 

Q: Our safety inspection reports have always been stored manually, with hard copies kept in the relevant vehicle history files. We are now looking at switching to an electronic system. Do we still have the keep hard copies?  

A: It is perfectly acceptable to use an electronic system to capture and store safety inspection data. Therefore, hard copies would not have to be kept. However, the system must be tamper proof and capable of producing hard copy information as and when required on request. This could be for DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency) enforcement or for use at public inquiries. It must clearly state what has been checked and by whom, and there must be a clear end-to-end audit trail. The system must also be able to meet all the requirements as laid down in the Guide to maintain roadworthiness, including having the ability to store safety inspection and repair work for at least 15 months. 

More details on Driver' hours, records and tachographs

 

How can I access more advice? 

Visit our Compliance and Advice area online where members can access detailed information including sections from our Yearbook of Road Transport Law. 
 
Read the latest editions of the Member Advice Centre Infozine (members only):

Issue 4 - January 2018
Issue 3 - September 2017
Issue 2 - June 2017
Issue 1 - April 2017

Contact the MAC

As a key part to your membership, the Member Advice Centre is there for all legal operational or technical queries.

Answering over 28,000 transport related calls a year, you can be sure help and expert advice is just a phone call away. The MAC is open 9am until 5pm Monday to Friday.

FTA Members can contact the MAC by:

Phone: 0370 605 0000 for advice today.

Email: mac@fta.co.uk