Crackdown on Fuel Spillages

Following a Highways Agency report on the effect of fuel spillages and their impact on the UK road network, the DVSA has put in place a crackdown which began on the 1st September. In the last year DVSA examiners found 2,390 fuel system defects and issued 1,500 prohibitions to vehicles with defective fuel systems.

As a result of the crackdown currently in force, an immediate prohibition will now be given for:

  • A missing or ineffective fuel cap
  • A fuel leak caused by a defect that contaminates the road surface
  • The identification of an insecure fuel tank where detachment is likely to

Likely results of the detection of a fuel system defect include a fixed penalty notice of £50 to the driver, or £100 for certain problems identified. At an operator level, fixed penalty notices may affect Operator Compliance Risk Scores and where a single driver receives three fixed penalty notices, a DVSA investigation may take place into operator systems, with reports submitted for review by the relevant traffic commissioner.

At Microlise, our customers can access data through our system that can help identify fuel problems. For example, operators have the ability to take the actual distance travelled and compare it to what would be expected given the miles-per-gallon (MPG) tracked over the period. Our fuel tank level indicator also provides visibility to the transport manager, flagging where a fuel level is decreasing more rapidly than expected. The data can be compared between vehicles, within their class, highlighting vehicles which may have issues that need to be addressed.

Diagnostic Trouble Codes generated by the vehicle around any faults also allow preventative maintenance to occur. For example where fuel pressure or temperature fault codes are submitted, transport managers gain visibility to which vehicles may require an inspection, over and above the six weekly review that happens on an ongoing basis.

Clear-ups of fuel leakages can seriously affect the flow of traffic, causing huge delays on the UK road network. Fuel also damages the road surface over time, shortening the life-span of the road and increasing maintenance requirements and the associated costs.