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Safety Role of VOSA

In 2003, the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) took over some of the work of the former Traffic Area Network of the Department of Transport and the Vehicle Inspectorate.




Since then, VOSA has had a number of goals. First of all, it aims to improve the standards of roadworthiness of vehicles. Secondly, it works to make sure that road operators and drivers comply with road traffic legislation. Finally, it supports the Traffic Commissioners. These are an independent group with a number of road safety and legal duties. VOSA supports these goals with a variety of testing, enforcement and licensing services.


Like any government department, VOSA has a vision that sums up its functions. The vision states VOSA’s commitment to making sure that vehicles and drivers on UK roads are safe and secure. It also mentions VOSA’s strategy. This focuses on issues such as road safety, a better environment and a reduction in vehicle crime.


VOSA has a role in investigating motoring accidents. It looks at possible design and manufacturing problems, and brings government attention to any safety concerns.



When makers recall vehicles, VOSA monitors the safety aspects. In this way, the agency helps ensure that manufacturers comply with issues that affect motoring safety.


VOSA often works with the Traffic Commissioners. It gives expert advice on bus registration, professional drivers, and the licensing of operators such as road hauliers. If the Traffic Commissioners believe it’s necessary to take legal steps against someone such as a road haulier, VOSA can support this action with relevant data.

The other enforcement role of the VOSA is to check compliance systems. These systems apply to such matters as load weights for lorries; the transportation of dangerous goods; and the hours that professional drivers work. VOSA has powers to make these checks at an operator’s premises and at the side of the road.



The licensing role of VOSA is part of this enforcement and compliance. The agency gives the Traffic Commissioners the support they need to review and approve licence applications from anyone who wishes to set up a bus or lorry firm. This work is important. It helps to guarantee that these firms operate the standards the law expects of them. The work of VOSA puts safety first in the passenger and goods vehicle operating industry.


Every driver is familiar with the MOT scheme. VOSA monitors the 23,500 garages that conduct MOTs. It approves and trains the MOT test examiners and testers. It authorises garages to carry out MOTs. And it checks the standards. It’s worth noting that VOSA also handles complaints from customers about MOT testing. If a complaint is valid, VOSA then acts to raise standards and ensure that a garage meets the demands of the law.



VOSA complements this work with training videos and seminars. It also produces a range of educational leaflets and reports. It performs a vital role in boosting motoring safety within the UK.


Disclaimer: The information in the article is for general purpose information only and should not be constituted as legal advice. This article has been produced by a third party and Jardine Motors does not take any responsibility for the completeness, accuracy, or reliability with respect to the website or the information provided. Article last updated March 2016.