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Crackdown on defective fuel systems

From 1 September 2014, we’ll be taking a more robust approach to vehicles with defective fuel systems. It’s not acceptable to contaminate the road surface or to drive a vehicle in such poor condition that a fuel spill is likely.

Following a Highways Agency (HA) report on the effect of diesel fuel spills on the road network, Department for Transport (DfT) asked us to review the sanctions we issue at the roadside for vehicles with defective fuel tanks and systems.

Last year HA reported 255 fuel spills, including on dual carriageways and motorways, resulting in lane closures and significant delays. The risks to road safety are obvious, but what you may not know is that it takes on average 5 hours to clear a fuel spill. You can imagine the disruption this causes to traffic. During roadside checks between 2013 to 2014, DVSA examiners detected 2,390 fuel system defects and issued over 1,500 prohibitions to vehicles with defective fuel systems.

We’ve reviewed our sanctions for defective fuel systems and agreed some changes with DfT. The main difference is that we’ll now only issue immediate prohibitions for defective fuel systems and leaks. We have communicated these to the trade associations and updated the changes into the Categorisation of Defects and Enforcement Sanctions Policy.

An immediate prohibition will be given for:
missing or ineffective fuel cap or sealing arrangement
fuel leak caused by a defect, contaminating the road surface
insecure fuel tank where detachment is imminent


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