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How our new search app makes enforcement checks quicker

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Enforcement

Enforcement officer looking at mobile phone

Our frontline enforcement staff have started using an innovative new search app that's set to save you time at enforcement stops.

Reducing the burden

You'll already know all about our roadside enforcement checks. They play a vital role in keeping Britain's roads safe by allowing us to take dangerous drivers and vehicles off the road.

But sometimes drivers and vehicles get stopped where the vehicle's in good nick and the driver hasn't done anything wrong. This costs us time and costs the people we stop time, so we want to cut it out as much as possible.

We've already started this by introducing the earned recognition scheme in April and the new search app should reduce the burden of enforcement stops on compliant operators even further.

Info at their fingertips

By scanning a vehicle's registration number or vehicle identification number (VIN) with their smartphone or tablet, our enforcement staff can now quickly access all the information they need to do their jobs. This includes the vehicle's testing history and any previous mechanical or driver problems.

Before, DVSA staff would have had to search lots of different databases for this information. Having it available in one place will save both DVSA and operators time and money.

This will give DVSA staff more time to focus on catching more dangerous, non-compliant drivers and vehicles by cutting down on the time they spend on good operators.

We estimate it could also save safe operators as much as 15-20 minutes at each enforcement stop helping them get back on the road.

So what can they see?

The search app will allow enforcement staff to:

  • access useful intelligence (including Operator Compliance Risk Score (OCRS), test data, operator details, outstanding prohibition notices)
  • access to ANPR recognitions to validate drivers hours records
  • make an informed decision whether to examine the vehicle
  • target both domestic and foreign vehicles – access to road levy payment details

Here's what it looks like

Here are some screenshots showing the new app's interface.

Screenshots of the search app

The first image shows what an examiner will see when they first scan a vehicle. It flags any issues with the vehicle, including MOT data.

The second image shows any enforcement history the examiner might find useful.

The third image shows the extra information an examiner can see if they drill down further for more detail.

There are obviously dozens upon dozens of different screens they might be able to see, so I can't show you all of them here, but hopefully you'll have an idea of what the app looks like now.

What do our staff say?

DVSA traffic examiner Helen Meechan had this to say about the new search app:

The search app has quickly become a vital piece of equipment for me.

I work mostly conducting mobile checks with North Wales Police as part of their Commercial Vehicle Unit. Previously, I had to run a single registration number through several websites and databases with my laptop on my knee in a police car before deciding whether to target a particular vehicle.

Now I only have to enter it once into one app on the smartphone and the information is at my fingertips.

And here’s what Jennifer Poole, another traffic examiner, had to say about the app:

I had a good job the other week. One of our enforcement support officers pointed out the ANPR data to me and I caught the driver out by using the info on the app.

He had passed me a manually completed tacho claiming the chart had been damaged, but what he had drawn on the chart didn’t match the ANPR data. I find the search app invaluable!

What's next?

We've got plans to add even more information to the app, including driving licence data from DVLA and insurance information.

That'll mean we'll be able to check drivers' identities and see if they're uninsured.

We're also exploring whether we could give driving examiners the app. Being able to check drivers' identities will really help our staff clamp down on imposters trying to cheat the driving test.

Other features will include:

  • recording inspections
  • issuing notices & fines
  • planning and recording operator visits

Earned recognition

You might be wondering how this all links in with the earned recognition scheme.

So, being on earned recognition doesn't mean your vehicle won't ever be pulled in – it's just much less likely. It can happen if the vehicle is obviously dangerous or it can still happen as part of a random check.

If an earned recognition operator's vehicle is pulled over at random, our staff will scan the vehicle with the app.

The app will then show that it belongs to an earned recognition operator's vehicle and they'll be sent on their way unless there's an obvious problem with the vehicle or driver.

It'll all take much less time than it would have done before they had the app.

Digital transformation

The search App is an example of digital transformation that is giving our staff access to data that will enable smarter enforcement and better decision-making.

The #SmarterGov campaign has been launched to drive innovation, savings and public service improvement across the DVSA and wider public sector.

Check out our Digital strategy for 2018 to 2020 for more information.

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  1. Comment by Rob Knight posted on

    Have you considered equipping officers with dockable phones with external camera capability?

    Using low cost camera and lenses together with suitable ANPR software, real-time scanning of vehicle registrations is possible while their vehicle is on the move?

    This works with Samsung DeX enabled devices such as the S8, S9, Note 8 etc. Which can be docked in a vehicle and the screen output re-directed to and external monitor as a desktop.

  2. Comment by JR Webley posted on

    I agree with majority of comments so far. However DVSA should be able to identify and take action on vehicles used in connection with a trade or business that are not operating legally IE without an Operators Licence.

    In my home town there are at least 3 vehicles parked on a layby within the 30mph limit laden with scrap. They appear not to be properly licenced. I cannot imagine an O Licence being granted if the Operating Centre is designated to be a main road.

  3. Comment by Derek Donnelly posted on

    How good is this when testing foreign vehicles and drivers. Does the data base go that far?

  4. Comment by A P posted on

    It would be nice if operators were able to download this sort of app with all of there own fleet details on. It's not just about cracking down on bad operators, its also important to help operators be compliant.

  5. Comment by j l posted on

    Still new time for it to go wrong yet let's Wait and see what goes wrong ie no network

  6. Comment by David Fisher posted on

    I witnessed the use of this app yesterday when I had a random pull by the DVSA. I could see the officer input my registration number, he walked around the vehicle while my tacho was checked, didn't make any attempt to go underneath. Wagon and tacho given the thumbs-up and was on my way within 20 minutes.

  7. Comment by Bobby Hefferon posted on

    It is about time that the DSVA had something like this as there are many big companies out there breaking the rules and getting away with it, hopefully now there will be more of a clamp down on all operators of all types of vehicles not just HGV/PSV.

  8. Comment by Gav Boydon posted on

    Fantastic idea but not all vehicles are up to date on the database. We run a 1999 Volvo b10m that according to the app ran out of MOT in 2000 and hasn't been tested since. Once these few teething problems are sorted it'll be an invaluable bit of kit for enforcement and testers alike.

  9. Comment by Paul Owen posted on

    Anything that helps with these roadside checks has to be good for the industry

  10. Comment by Keith Read posted on

    It's a shame that the police do not have a similar device for burglars, thieves, rapists and murderers. Ah! But they can't because there are no registration numbers.
    Big Brother is already here!
    I'm so glad I retired when I did. It would not be so bad if the DSVA did not act as judge, jury and executioner. Career criminals get a far better deal than HGV and PSV drivers.

    • Replies to Keith Read>

      Comment by Nick Denton posted on

      DVSA does not act as "judge, jury and executioner". If they consider an operator is non-compliant, they refer it to a traffic commissioner who must hold a public inquiry before taking any regulatory action such as suspension or revocation of the licence. Traffic commissioners are wholly independent of DVSA and DfT.

      • Replies to Nick Denton>

        Comment by Trevor Coltman posted on

        It's a sad fact that this is the way the DVSA are perceived by many drivers. Many examiners over the years have picked up on minor defects which were barely thought to be relevant to safety. This appears to have done serious damage to their credibility and the understanding that we all need to work together to make the roads safer.
        According to current records there are around 750,000 vocational licences in issue, with around 40 million sharing the roads. The professionals leading by example could make a difference and hopefully reduce the annual accident statistics that blight transport. They need to be involved.
        App looks a good idea. We all have to keep pace with technology.

      • Replies to Nick Denton>

        Comment by TG posted on

        Straight from the horses mouth!

        Nice to see a Traffic Commissioner reading these posts.

  11. Comment by Richard Pudney posted on

    A link to the app would be great.....

  12. Comment by Peter Guest posted on

    Absolutely fantastic piece of software.

    Use it well for the benefit of everyone involved in the industry.

    I only wish I was many years younger!

  13. Comment by f.b. lycett posted on

    As I have been saying for a long time, only one way, the right way

  14. Comment by Colin Gossage posted on

    Very good tool.
    But how dose the officer know that this is the vehicle on the DVLA data base, or one of four clones?