HGV Driver Films DVSA Inspection Experience

9th Aug 2023

25-year-old James, who goes by @truckinwithjames on Instagram and TikTok, recently filmed his experience of being inspected by the DVSA. In the video James pointed out this was the second time he’s been stopped recently, despite an all clear on the previous stop.

The video goes on to show the stages and interactions that take place while the DVSA examines the vehicle and analyses the tachograph records. When it came to tachograph records James admitted to camera that there is one breach of driver hours rules – going over by 5 minutes, he did however have paperwork for this suggesting good compliance practice from his transport manager. The DVSA also clocked onto this but showed no signs of concern.

The vehicle went through an inspection also, very much top to bottom and fortunately for James it was given all clear.

What it's like being pulled over by DVSA - @truckinwithjames ~ TikTok


With this being short form content, the video was sped up in parts, but it still managed to hit home how a stop from the DVSA can affect a driver’s schedule, ETA and return to depot. Additionally, the added stress James experienced worrying if anything had been missed when carrying out his vehicle safety checks – especially when you consider this was the second time being stopped in a short period of time, for James. I’m sure any of us, even the most thorough and compliant of drivers would have a little doubt in their minds about being stopped again.

In the end the DVSA was satisfied with their findings and saw nothing that required any further action. So, what can compliant fleets do to minimise DVSA roadside inspections?

What is Earned Recognition?

Earned Recognition (ER) is a voluntary scheme, designed to work for operators of all sizes, to prove you meet driver and vehicle standards. Meaning you’re:

  • Continuously monitoring your own compliance
  • Using monitoring systems, such as SmartCompliance
  • Compliant with vehicle and road safety standards

Descartes SmartCompliance has been involved with Earned Recognition since its conception, one of our customers was the first to be enrolled in the scheme – read more on that here. Being a recognised IT supplier by the DVSA has enabled us to see many of our customers prepare and enrol in the scheme. There is no doubt there is a learning curve in getting prepared for enrolment, as with anything new you’ll need to learn about the KPI’s involved and what you’re committing to.

But the benefits far outweigh the set up:

  • You’d be an exemplary operator, and be able to prove this when bidding for contracts – possibly giving you the edge up on competitors
  • Less likely to have your vehicles stopped at the roadside for inspections (like we saw with James)
  • Less likely to have DVSA enforcement staff visit your premises – meaning you can get on with running your business with fewer untimely interruptions
  • Be able to utilise the use of the DVSA Earned Recognition logo on your website and marketing materials (similar to what we do as a recognised ER IT supplier)
  • Be recognised as a DVSA-accredited operator on GOV.UK – a brilliant way to legitimise your business to new customers & suppliers
  • Have direct access to the dedicated ER team in the DVSA – another useful resource for you to tap into

There are a few boxes that need to be ticked to make you eligible for the Earned Recognitionscheme. One of which is ensuring your compliance is run through an DVSA ER approved supplier – such as Descartes. SmartCompliance has full capability through SmartAnalysis, SmartCheck and SmartLicence for you to join the ER scheme and continue to monitor the key KPI’s set by the DVSA. With SmartAnalysis you can see how you perform against the KPIs before starting the Earned Recognition process with the DVSA.

For a full breakdown about the DVSA Earned Recognition Scheme and how to join you can read more on the DVSA website. If you’d like to sign up to enroll in the scheme or see how you perform against the DVSA’s KPIs using SmartCompliance – an existing customer or not, please get in touch by filling in the form.