OCRS: What Do Fleet Managers Need to Know
In 2016, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) announced changes to its operator compliance risk score (OCRS) — the traffic light system that the DVSA uses to decide which vehicles should be inspected. So, how can changes to OCRS affect the reputation of fleet managers.
Up until 2015, the OCRS was broken into two categories, both of which carried a separate score. An operator’s roadworthiness score is based on the results of vehicle tests and roadside inspections. It assesses the quality of the vehicle and whether it has any faults that affect how the vehicle performs on the road. There is also a traffic score, which is based on roadside inspection and prosecutions. It considers the drivers’ hours, tachograph offences and weighing checks.
The new OCRS score combines roadworthiness and traffic scores, which helps authorities concentrate their roadside targeting on operators who are the highest risk to other road users. If an operator has a combined score of ten points or less, they sit in the green category, eleven to 25 points puts them in amber and anything over 25 points gives them a red score. Vehicle and traffic examiners will use the new combined score to determine which vehicles to pull over and inspect. As the new score comes into place, it’s important for vehicle operators to consider how vehicle defects could damage their reputation.
Defects in braking systems, steering, wheels, tyres, suspension and chassis attract more points than other defects. This is usually because the examiner believes that the defect reflects a significant failure in the operator’s maintenance system, such as where a defect should have been spotted by the driver in their walk round checks or the defect is apparent to the driver when on the road.
A category one defect can issue up to 200 OCRS points, putting the operator into the red band, which could lead to increased attention from the area’s traffic commissioner. Being in the red band can ultimately lead to a public safety enquiry and potential action being taken against the operator’s licence.
There are two situations that will result in an operator’s score going straight to red, regardless of previous offences. If an operator is prosecuted by the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA), the OCRS will move to red for one calendar year from the date of the conviction.
Where one of the most serious infringements are detected and initially dealt with by prohibitions of fixed penalties, the operator’s score will also move straight to red for six months. The relevant most serious offences relate to exceeding driving time limits, not having a tachograph or speed limiter, driving with someone else’s driver card and transporting dangerous and prohibited goods.
In order to maintain a high level of tyre safety, operators should take control of their tyre pressure monitoring. Any fleet operator will tell you that manual tyre checks are tedious and time-consuming. A company with a hundred 14-wheel HGVs can take up to three working days to check the tyre pressure of all its vehicles. Furthermore, there is little guarantee that human error won’t interfere with the results.