Poor Maintenance Standards. Are the Banks to Blame?

As the Director of a Transport Consultancy, Carl Myers is concerned that we seem to be seeing a new trend in the industry.

Over recent years there are vast amounts of operators that have moved to contract hire and contract maintenance in an effort to improve their vehicle roadworthiness. Many of these no doubt are pushed by the accountants to improve their bottom line and spread the cost. With the credit crunch hitting hard and £1.8 trillion wiped off the finance markets, you have to ask yourself, who owns most of the large contract hire and Maintenance Companies? Answer: Yes you guessed it the banks and finance houses!

Could this be reflected in the staggering 37% of HGVs failing their MOTs or the 36% of HGVs stopped by VOSA for spot checks being issued prohibition notices?

There is no doubt that the tightening of the purse strings is having an effect on maintenance. Are operators fully aware of this? When all is said and done the drivers and operators are held accountable by the traffic commissioner if vehicles are not up to standard. Do operators that run fleets of contract hire or contract maintained vehicles really know when they put their vehicle in for routine inspection if defects are being rectified effectively? Or are the bean counters putting so much pressure on the business to perform in hard times that the maintenance inspections sheet is just becoming a tick box exercise!

Operators need to wake up to the fact that the buck stops with them, every edition of Motor Transport reports on operators loosing their O licence for poor maintenance standards, remember, the contract hire companies will not be facing the Traffic commissioner, the O Licence holder will.

Solution? Independent inspections of your fleet, a low cost solution to the problem which can be undertaken at any time the vehicles is parked up and is a good measure of the standard you are receiving from your contract hire company, your repair agent and your driver’s pre-use inspection regime. With all the right information you can then make an informed decision and be aware of any risks.

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