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Halloween hall of HGV horrors

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Enforcement

As Halloween creeps up on us, we thought we’d share with you these recent horror stories that our enforcement officers have spotted on our roads.

But don’t lose any sleep, we’ve cast our spell on these wicked deeds and the malevolent offenders have received their punishment!

It’s our mission to protect all road users from the evils of unsafe drivers and vehicles.

We detected nearly 32,000 serious defects and traffic offences on our roads last year. This resulted in us issuing £6.6m in fines along with a range of other enforcement actions and prosecutions.

DVSA Vehicle Examiner Gareth Prismick explains these cases.

Balder than Uncle Fester

a bald tyre found by DVSA enforcment

This photo says it all.

More frighteningly, we spotted this bald tyre on an HGV driving during the torrential downpours of Hurricane Lorenzo!

Tyres with this lack of tread offer little grip and risk a serious accident if sudden braking happens, particularly on wet roads.

Scary load

an overloaded truck found by DVSA enforcement

Look away now…

We stopped this scarily loaded and defective vehicle en route to Africa, which resulted in £650 in immediate fines and a prohibition.

The driver was also not using a tachograph and as you can see, the loaded truck is longer than the carrying vehicle! It is enough to send chills down anyone’s spine!

Mirror, mirror

a tassel in place of a mirror found by DVSA enforcement

It’s not just vampires who wouldn’t be able to see their reflection in this lorry’s front mirror. Yes, the mirror has scarily been replaced by a tasselled pendant.

Safety comes first and we immobilised this vehicle until a new mirror was fitted.

Zombie driver

a lorry parked at a DVSA enforcement site with a sign outlining 'The fastest way to the UK' on its side

The driver of this lorry must have felt like a zombie after we caught them driving 34 hours over two days with just over two hours’ rest. The livery is very apt.

Restrictions on HGV driving hours are in place to keep us safe and this lack of rest hours is frightening.

We immobilised the vehicle and issued almost £1,500 in fines.

Wheely frightening

an examiner checking bolts on a wheel

Eight of 10 wheel nuts were loose on this HGV wheel, not to mention numerous other defects that we uncovered.

It was clear that this driver didn’t carry out his vital walk around checks!

Although these type of defects are not common, the thought of this wheel coming loose on a motorway is hair raising.

On a final note

With all the jokes aside, our staff work day and night, in all weathers to help ensure heavy vehicles are safe to be on Britain’s roads.

Heavy vehicle operators commit to keep their vehicles safe when they apply for their operator’s licence. Failure to do this could lead to any of the following: regulatory action from the Traffic Commissioner (including loss of licence), prosecution or even worse, a serious road incident.

We do this to protect everyone from dangerous drivers and vehicles.

If you see any of your own lorry, bus or coach horrors out there then report them to us and, like the Ghostbusters, we’ll hunt them down!

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  1. Comment by D Robinson posted on

    Mild defects at best I have seen far worse

  2. Comment by lee cox posted on


    Just wondered when the DVSA will start clamping down on the Volumetric trucks running around Wolverhampton, Dudley and surrounding areas? These trucks are trundling around at 44 tonne when they are restricted to either 32 or 38.6 tonne on an 8x4, an actual driver informed me of that when i questioned him, he said they load them till they spill over the sides! Also they offer 24/7 day service, with the same drivers. Surely these matters should be addressed before an exhausted driver carrying top weight has an horrific accident.

    The general consensus with these companies are that DVSA are not concerned with them and it's carry on regardless, there is Facebook page that actually mocks the fact, some saying her trucks top 50 tonnes loaded.

    Any reassurance that these matters are of interest would be greatly appreciated.

  3. Comment by Jason posted on

    what about the sat nav in drivers view?

    • Replies to Jason>

      Comment by Peter (DVSA) posted on

      Each case is always deemed on its individual merits whilst our examiner is sitting in the driver's seat.

      On this particular occasion the driver was offered advice to rectify the position of the sat nav, as per guidance in the guide to maintaining roadworthiness.

  4. Comment by Leanne posted on

    Can someone please explain how the lorry was a safety risk? I understand there isn't a rule regarding length as long as lights etc are seen and clear and the load is securely strapped, I may not be seeing something here but lights would clearly be seen by other drivers and the load is secured I understand the tachometer problem which is fair enough but to pull him over for the load I can't see your reasoning. Would be highly appreciated if someone could enlighten me as to where the hazard is regarding the load

  5. Comment by Keith posted on

    We are all so proud of you dvsa that is. What percentage of truck miles per year. These offences equate to

  6. Comment by Paul Drake posted on

    Can't believe the amount of comments regarding the mirror issue. Do you drivers not look at your windscreen. Top left or right depending on country you will see the front mirror too check for pedestrians or cycles. Why on earth are you all commenting on a rear view mirror. The said truck is probably a Renault premium as the have Thier mirror slap bang in the middle. Give me strength.

  7. Comment by Maughan posted on

    We used to call it a bumper mirror and not a rear view mirror,

    • Replies to Maughan>

      Comment by Peter (DVSA) posted on

      We refer to it as the front mirror in this case.

      • Replies to Peter (DVSA)>

        Comment by Maughan posted on

        I think that the proper name for it is a "cyclops" mirror and it does not have to be mounted in the middle of the windscreen ,better closer to the side opposite the driver in my opinion.

        • Replies to Maughan>

          Comment by Peter (DVSA) posted on

          Yes, this particular model is meant to have its front mirror in this central position.

        • Replies to Maughan>

          Comment by Kevin posted on

          When I started driving you didn't need to have a downward mirror fitted

          • Replies to Kevin>

            Comment by David Young posted on

            Been driving a long time then, I guess. It was mid to late 2000's when it became a requirement.

  8. Comment by Steve Bird posted on

    As a general note..
    I've been driving LGV's since 1982 (yes I really am that old :)), the job & the requirements of it make it almost unrecognisable now from then.
    What I would say is I believe most, but sadly probably still not all, operators & drivers are trying their very best to be compliant, in the vast majority of cases. However there are still a small number of operators & drivers who flaunt the law, if this is through ignorance (no excuse) or total disregard it needs stamping out.
    What I always say to our Drivers is "what if it were someone you loved who was maimed or killed by a negligent driver or operator what would your reaction be?"
    LGV driving really is very demanding, hats off to all the excellent drivers out there, the small minority give us all a bad name, lets do all we can to eradicate them.

    • Replies to Steve Bird>

      Comment by Tony Twist posted on

      I have driven hgv 1 for over 40 yrs but because I won't do the stupid cpc I am now deemed unfit to drive a hgv yet since this stupid cpc the hgv offenceces have increased

      • Replies to Tony Twist>

        Comment by Steve Bird posted on

        sorry you feel that way about CPC training.
        Know it's not everyone's 'cup of tea' but as a Company we've had a few benefits with driver CPC training.
        I've been driving almost as long as you and genuinely I've never had a training session when I haven't learned something, or seen a different side to a discussion.
        The Company I work for pays for the training (I know, we're lucky) & I believe this makes our Drivers feel like the Company is investing something in them as employees. I think the employers that don't pay for the training are missing a BIG trick here.
        If you keep on top of the training by doing a period every year it keeps you ahead of the game. Earlier this year I went for my annual training and a Chappie in there was doing 5 straight days of the same course, WOW he must have felt like self abusing after day two.
        I far prefer the situation now where new drivers have at least something of a clue rather than back in my day when you were thrown the keys to a truck and told to get on with it.

      • Replies to Tony Twist>

        Comment by John Stimpson posted on

        Hi Tony like you I find the driver CPC difficult but I suspect for different reasons why not use that 40 years of experience to help the other drivers in the room so they don't make the same mistakes you may have made when you started out

  9. Comment by Steve Bird posted on

    What a plonker I am, you mean the 'external' downward looking mirror (y/n??). Gets coat & orders taxi.

  10. Comment by Steve Bird posted on

    Peter (DVSA),
    to satisfy my own curiosity, what type of vehicle is it that requires a centrally positioned mirror on the other side of the windscreen?
    I'd also have thought the dangly/tassel pendant was obscuring forward view (y/n??).

    • Replies to Steve Bird>

      Comment by Peter (DVSA) posted on

      A DGVW exceeding 7500kg. These kind of decorations can obscure the view and our enforcement staff assess this during their checks. Even if this vehicle had a front mirror this feature would have obscured that!

      • Replies to Peter (DVSA)>

        Comment by Steve Bird posted on

        Peter (DVSA),
        I'd 'sort of' sussed out (see subsequent comment) which mirror you were talking about. Thanks for the reply though.

  11. Comment by Frank posted on

    Isn't the over length truck at the docks. Dare say ready for export ???? They load them at the docks like that say I'd imagine it's going on a ferry and hasnt travelled on the road like that.

  12. Comment by Karl posted on

    I noticed your pictures are in America , South Africa and the hgv with the covered mirror is also a foreign one , why you would need a rear view mirror in a hgv is beyond me , but you’ve stuck it in there to show the public what total disregard for their safety we hgv drivers have , the majority of drivers are diligent and have safety as a number one concern , but you portray us in a different light , look at the amount of hgv s on our motorways and the majority will be safe , you could also say the same about cars as there are some real wrecks out there , I believe vosa that you are self funded !!!!! So let people make there own judgments about your misleading motives , we are already hated by the public, is it any wonder when an official body like you are putting in pics of other countries and using uk hgvs as the target ,, I’m sure you could find a bunch of pics from defected hgvs in uk

    • Replies to Karl>

      Comment by Peter (DVSA) posted on

      These photos have all been taken in the UK by our enforcement officers.

    • Replies to Karl>

      Comment by David Young posted on

      What about the photos makes you think they were not taken in the UK? The DVSA look at any HGVs on the UK roads so it could be that some of the vehicles depicted are foreign.
      The DVSA are part of the Dept for Transport and as such receive funding from central government. Not self funded in the slightest.
      You are right though, there are a lot more cars in a lot worse condition on the roads, but they are a matter for the police.

  13. Comment by Peter posted on

    You dont need an internal mirror as long as you have both side mirrors. Also if it's a HGV or large LGV they dont have internal mirrors So to immobilise vehicle is wrong

    • Replies to Peter>

      Comment by Peter (DVSA) posted on

      It is the front mirror that is missing and it has been a requirement to have one of these on this type of vehicle since 2007.

      • Replies to Peter (DVSA)>

        Comment by Karl posted on

        You mean a class 6 mirror ,, which is normally to the left to centre,, opposite side for left hookers

  14. Comment by Tony Young posted on

    You keep making pots of money to buy your expensive vehicles. Should never have been privatised. Privatised just means money first over a decent job.

    • Replies to Tony Young>

      Comment by Peter (DVSA) posted on

      The DVSA is not a private company. It is an executive agency sponsored by the Department for Transport.

    • Replies to Tony Young>

      Comment by David Young posted on

      The money from penalties issued goes to the treasury. Perhaps if the money went to the DVSA they would spend more time focusing on the bad operators.

  15. Comment by Derek Davidson posted on

    I started worki using class2 did 1 drop & 1 uplift then parked lorry& swapped for articulated vehicle , went down to plant sat there for 20 mins then transport supervisor phoned me to say they needed vehicle back as a driver going to Aberdeen had faulty dip beam , so I had to take lorry back up & change over with me getting the faulty dipped beam vehicle, I complained why I should have to take the faulty light vehicle back out to do my job , his reply was the driver is going to Aberdeen so he needs ligjts, & your only doing local work , where do we stand on these so called transport supervisors actions , I cant afford to lose my job , so I went out & did my job on faulty dipped beam vehicle do I tell transport manager or report it to VOSA ???.

  16. Comment by J maggs posted on

    I know it doesnt look good but Im assuming the truck with the scary load if the back axle of the lorry being carried was supported properly and appropriate rear marker boards used it would have been legal ?
    Guess it probably wasnt overloaded ?

    • Replies to J maggs>

      Comment by Peter (DVSA) posted on

      It wasn't overloaded as such but as you can see from the overhang the carrying vehicle was not appropriate for a load of this length.

  17. Comment by Andrew posted on

    Until drivers get employment rights they often have little choice but to drive whatever they are told to regardless of condition. BAN LTD agency drivers ( 3 years in I'm quitting HGV)

    • Replies to Andrew>

      Comment by Colin posted on

      I agree, ltd company & umbrella driver’s pay little in to the system. The other problem is that awful cpc, it’s responsible for retiring thousands of drivers early.

  18. Comment by James posted on

    6.6 million pound eh ! In a country that has no industry, that will keep things ticking for a short while. Maybe they could send it to Europe, after all its just over half a month's subscription payment.

  19. Comment by Dom posted on

    I'm confused... Hgvs don't have mirrors in the middle of the windscreen. So why is that included?

    • Replies to Dom>

      Comment by Peter (DVSA) posted on

      Vehicles like this are required to have front mirrors which are positioned in a central position on the other side of the windscreen.

  20. Comment by Phillip Platt posted on

    Having been an HGV driver for many years, working for a reputable company who cared (besblock) I'm deeply saddened to see the poor standards often shown by companies & drivers alike, what happened to professionalism,Glad to be retired

  21. Comment by Gary Alvey posted on

    Rather surprised that the Dvsa patrol following the coal powered van up the M20 this morning didn’t feel the need to pull it over.
    Had it been a wagon or coach I’m sure they wouldn’t have ignored it.
    Maybe they couldn’t see it for the smoke!

  22. Comment by Ratch posted on

    All them photos look like , foreign trucks , not uk haulage companies.

  23. Comment by Forza posted on

    Rear view mirror in a lorry? Surely that's not a default if its covered all my years of driving an HGV I've never driven one with a rear view mirror fitted.

    • Replies to Forza>

      Comment by Peter (DVSA) posted on

      Vehicles like this are required to have front mirrors which are positioned in a central position on the other side of the windscreen.

  24. Comment by Les smee posted on

    I wish DVSA would start stopping cars motorcycles light vans etc, the amount of defective vehicles driving about in these classes of vehicle is horrendous.
    If they did some night time early morning operations it would be worth the effort.

    • Replies to Les smee>

      Comment by Alec Jackson posted on

      I agee there is probably more defective cars on the road than hgvs. But they seem to always talk about us truck drivers..maybe they should be pulling over cars as part of there job. I have seen many cars missing wing mirrors I thought they where standard issue on cars ..

      • Replies to Alec Jackson>

        Comment by Peter (DVSA) posted on

        The DVSA covers lorries, trailers, buses and coaches with our roadside enforcement. The Police cover cars.

    • Replies to Les smee>

      Comment by David Young posted on

      If you see any commercial vehicle with problems you can report them to the DVSA.

  25. Comment by Mark Senior posted on

    So scary... But let's set something straight

    1st pic could still be legal. You only require 1mm over 3/4 the edge of the tyre can be like that if the remaining 3/4 is of legal 1mm depth. Can't really tell how much that has on the rest just that the wall edge is near bald tread

    2nd pic goods been longer than the vehicle don't mean anything. Thought over 1 meter requires signage and over 3 meters require an escort vehicle. The weight of the carried vehicle could be all legal also... But no tacho well that's their problem lol

    3rd pic is an Artic... How many attics do you know have a rear view mirror? Looks a tad long but I've seen alot worse come out of DVLA spot checks as a pass so I don't understand this one

    The rest throw the book at em

    • Replies to Mark Senior>

      Comment by Peter (DVSA) posted on

      Our enforcement team checked all of these vehicles shown carefully and they were all found to be a safety risk. The vehicle with the tasseled feature was missing its front mirror which has been a requirement on such a vehicle since 2007.

    • Replies to Mark Senior>

      Comment by Pat Mccay posted on

      The mirror in question is for seeing along the front grill area.

  26. Comment by Richard Burns posted on

    Can you get lorry drivers off their phones and TVs? I commute 600 miles a week and see far more lorry drivers on phones than cars and vans, you can see them in their drivers mirror as you overtake, talk about overtaking, I'm sick of having to swerve to avoid a collision, because they have drifted over the white lines into the middle lane, oh, they correct it, in-between a sip of coffee and Netflix! Thing is, Im driving, I can soon shift, speed up or slam the anchors on, in other words take avasive action, when they drift onto the hard shoulder, they could be a stricken vehicle there and not everyone gets out and stands the other side of the barrier, I know they should......but they don't.

  27. Comment by Richard Smith posted on

    Rarely do any trucks have a rear view mirror in center Of windscreen to cover up
    Visual Checks will not show loose nuts
    A load may be larger than loading area of a vehicle but must carry warning signs

    • Replies to Richard Smith>

      Comment by Peter (DVSA) posted on

      This particular vehicle shown has been required to have a front mirror since 2007.

  28. Comment by Lee Whitby posted on

    Very good to see a contrast between poor operators and good (likewise with the testing blog) there was an operator recently that was so bad they were taken straighht to the port believe for vehicle defects/prohibitions, but is it the same as with OCRS in uk that the operator would be penalised by their own member state equivalent to DVSA/TC, if so, are there any statistics to show this works? The fine will hurt non uk operators but no O licence really would prevent this from occuring again? Then i suppose the argument is.... who is going to do the work?? 🙂

  29. Comment by Steve Brooks posted on


    thanks for the update and keep up the excellent work you guys do out there.

  30. Comment by Terry posted on

    On another note would be ideal if like the rest of Europe vehicles had to change to winter tyres then skidding along the motorway in light snow and heavy rain during the winter months would be a thing if the past.

    • Replies to Terry>

      Comment by Terry posted on

      Of not if.. darn spell check is a horror story.

    • Replies to Terry>

      Comment by Dem posted on

      Winter tyres is rule in Europe for cars only. Try and change 14 tyres twice a will cost more than the vehicle and not much different on the road any way.

  31. Comment by Alan posted on

    Alright if it's a big firm, you work on a percent of the firms trucks, say 100 vehicles and only 1 gets pulled over, it has a defect it then goes against the operates licence, but that's only 1 percent, and nothing is done, however if you're a small company with say 2 vehicles, you class that as 50 per cent of that firm's vehicle's, then things go out of control, yet the chances are that big firm can potentially have more faults but nothing more is likely to happen.....fair???

    • Replies to Alan>

      Comment by Shane posted on

      If u only have 2 trucks running should be easy to keep on top of their service/maintenance etc no excuses 2 trucks or 100 trucks employ decent drivers and won't have any problems

    • Replies to Alan>

      Comment by Mr Michael Lucani posted on

      Shouldn't you just be compliant at all times?

    • Replies to Alan>

      Comment by Alfie Anderson posted on

      It does not matter if you have one or one hundred vehicles, none should be on the road if they have a defect.
      Where is the process to prevent this from happening.

    • Replies to Alan>

      Comment by George posted on

      Hi Alan do they still give GV 9s ? I got one years ago

    • Replies to Alan>

      Comment by Dem posted on

      Regarding this system I believe the way it works is different. No difference if you have one or a hundred trucks you will go on RED. Having more trucks can help put it back to GREEN easier though.

    • Replies to Alan>

      Comment by David Young posted on

      That's where the OCRS comes in.

      A fleet of 100 vehicles, if only 1 is found an issue, that won't take them out of the green.
      A fleet of 2 vehicles, if 1 is found to have the same issue, then they are likely to go into the amber.

      It might not seem fair to the small operator, but it is fair because they are only running 50% of their fleet safely rather than 99%.

      Depending on the issue found, the operator could still end up being taken to PI or court even if their OCRS is still green. After all it's just an indicator of how good an operator you are based on when you have an encounter.

  32. Comment by Pat Mccay posted on

    Keep up the good work, it is time the financial penalties where increased.

    • Replies to Pat Mccay>

      Comment by albert posted on

      have you seen in yr mirror whilst driving?? only to find its a car or a van, when you thought it was a motorcycle......get these off the road and get their lights tended to.

  33. Comment by Michael Perris posted on

    Keep it up!

  34. Comment by Paul Thimson posted on

    Absolutely crazy what lengths drivers and operators will go to get something delivered. Cost of fines must out weigh the actual cost to deliver or collect. Not to mention the fact people could be killed by these actions.

    • Replies to Paul Thimson>

      Comment by David Young posted on

      Yes, but how often are they stopped and fined versus how much more profit do they make per run.
      Until they are stopped on every journey where they are running illegally they will continue to break the rules.

  35. Comment by Kevin Smith posted on

    Fright night or is it freight night enjoy Halloween be safe

    • Replies to Kevin Smith>

      Comment by Peter (DVSA) posted on

      Wish we thought of that one!

      • Replies to Peter (DVSA)>

        Comment by albert posted on

        think of this one...bend your index fingers at the careless drivers who have left their brains in the jar at the side of their beds..along with their bulbs to go on their cars/vans & yes..taxis..good & bad on the road.

  36. Comment by Dee posted on

    How to these HGV drivers have a conscience...or perhaps they haven't.

    • Replies to Dee>

      Comment by Nick hgv driver posted on

      Please don't tar all drivers with the same brush,some of us do care we have to ,it pays our mortgage,and bills ,
      Some times the company put into place policies that cause the drivers to break the law and cut corners,but these firms are slowly being found out .
      Fortunately the firm I work for do care ,and comply with the law.
      Believe me after 35 years driving i've met only a few bad driver's,most truckers have pride in there trucks its our office,kitchen,bedroom all in one .
      Live the dream as we say

  37. Comment by Paul posted on

    Keep up the good work, it will pay dividends one day.

  38. Comment by FG posted on

    Good to read blogs like this - please keep them coming as they help focus the mind.

  39. Comment by Colin Emden posted on

    Excellent idea to update us to the problems you encounter and what you find as it helps us spread the word as to why we need to do daily safety checks and the consequences of the fines if they do not.

  40. Comment by Steve Brooks posted on

    Can you share any more of these horror stories as they are good for driver engagement and to make all professional drivers aware of shady operators out there.

    • Replies to Steve Brooks>

      Comment by Peter (DVSA) posted on

      We have more horror stories on our Matters of Testing blog tomorrow, which are testing rather than roadside enforcement related.

      • Replies to Peter (DVSA)>

        Comment by Norman cable posted on

        How long did all this take. Take a bow. Why don’t you get on with your work instead of always trying to big yourselves up!!

        • Replies to Norman cable>

          Comment by Peter (DVSA) posted on

          We write blogs like this as part of our role to raise awareness to encourage other operators and drivers not to do the same.

  41. Comment by dave farrow posted on

    The Mirror, Mirror, picture is inaccurate, if as it looks this is an articulated unit, then he has side mirrors only and not a windscreen(central mirror as he will not have any rear windows), understand the pennant/tassles are incorrect and should not be there and block the view, but get it right.

    • Replies to dave farrow>

      Comment by Peter (DVSA) posted on

      Vehicles like this are required to have front mirrors which are positioned in a central position on the other side of the windscreen.

      • Replies to Peter (DVSA)>

        Comment by David posted on

        Took me as a non-hgv driver to work the mirror thing out, but for everyone commenting, it’s mounted on the outside of the vehicle looking down so the driver can see the area immediately in front of the cab.