As a commercial driver, you might be asked to stop by the police or a Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) officer. They can stop lorries, buses and coaches.
The police and VOSA have the power to carry out spot checks on your vehicle and issue prohibitions if necessary. A prohibition prevents you from driving until you get a problem with your vehicle fixed.
Police and VOSA officers can also issue fixed penalties if you commit an offence. Some of these are graduated depending on the circumstances and seriousness of the offence.
It’s your responsibility to make sure your vehicle is roadworthy.
How to recognise a VOSA officer
VOSA officers wear yellow visibility jackets with the VOSA logo and they’ll always carry a VOSA warrant.
Their vehicles are marked with a black and yellow print on the side and a VOSA logo on the bonnet.
What happens when you’re stopped
The checks are carried out either at the roadside or dedicated testing sites. The checks are used to keep unsafe vehicles off the road.
The officer checks that the vehicle isn’t breaking any rules and regulations. This includes:
- checking authorised load weights and type of load permitted
- checking vehicles for roadworthiness and mechanical faults
- looking at your tachograph records
- making sure you have a valid occupational driving licence
Your vehicle could be impounded if you commit a series of serious offences.
Foreign-registered vehicles are subject to the same rules as vehicles registered in the UK.
If you’re carrying a high-value load you can keep your engine running, doors locked and windows closed until you’re sure you’ve been stopped by a genuine police or VOSA officer.
If you don’t stop
Not stopping when asked to by a uniformed officer is an offence. The incident will be officially recorded and you’ll be interviewed later on.
You may then face court action or be reported to the Traffic Commissioner, who may remove or suspend your operator’s licence.