Avoiding a Prohibition for a Dirty Registration Plate

VOSA’s category of defects states that a delayed prohibition can be issued for a dirty registration plate.  VOSA’s guidance says that where a vehicle’s registration plate is illegal solely as a result of dirt, then a driver should be given the opportunity to clean the plate.  However, if a driver is unwilling or unable to clean that plate then a prohibition should be issued.
If a plate has been left deliberately dirty for the purposes of obscuring vehicle identification then a prohibition should be issued.  This may be obvious if a vehicle is completely clean but the number plate left dirty.  However, in other circumstances it will be far from obvious.
If a driver is stopped by VOSA, and a dirty number plate is raised by the inspecting officer, then drivers should be advised to request to be allowed to clean the said plate.
All prohibitions issued by VOSA should be thoroughly investigated by the transport operation.  Operators should consider having a written prohibition procedure in place so that everyone knows how they should be dealt with.
First of all, drivers need to be told to inform their Transport Manager or Supervisor as soon as the prohibition is issued.
The Operator should then attempt to check validity of the fault and, if the prohibition is not judged to be justified, contact the local goods vehicle testing station to discuss the fault.  If your dispute is not resolved, then consider following VOSA’s complaints procedure.
If the prohibition is considered to be a genuine fault, then it should be repaired and the vehicle taken to get the prohibition lifted.
Each prohibition should then be investigated thoroughly to discover the root cause. The Operator should consider whether a driver should have noticed the fault when carrying out his daily defect checks or whether the fault should have been picked up at the last pre-maintenance inspection.  The operator should consider retraining or disciplinary measures if it is felt they are appropriate.
The company should then implement new working systems to try to prevent a similar prohibition occurring again.
For advice on how to deal with a prohibition, or for any other transport advice, contact Jared Dunbar at Dyne Solicitors on 01829 773 100

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