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The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has announced the launch of its new Earned Recognition Scheme, which it said will reward firms who are most focused on ensuring their truck fleets – and the people who drive them – are fully compliant with safety regulations at all times.

The Agency said more than 60 HGV and PSV operators, which between them run more than 43,000 vehicles, have been taking part in a pilot of the scheme, which started last April.

The companies include high street retailers John Lewis, telecoms firm BT and the London bus operation of Arriva, along with other firms across all sectors and of all sizes, from operators with just one vehicle to those operating thousands, DVSA said.

These operators regularly share performance information with DVSA, and in return their vehicles are “much less likely” to be stopped for inspections, the agency said. This then frees up examiners to target the most dangerous truck operators and drivers.

Staples Vegetables Ltd, the first haulier to take part in the pilot, received a special thank you as the full scheme was launched at the CV Show in Birmingham in April.

“Earned recognition allows the best operators to go about their business unhindered, so we can target our activity at those most likely to be a danger to all road users,” said DVSA chief executive, Gareth Llewellyn.

“Even during the pilot, participating operators are already seeing the benefits. We’ve heard reports of improved relationships with drivers, better processes and recognition from customers. If you’re an operator and you take compliance and safety seriously, we hope earned recognition is something you’ll aspire to.”

Freight Transport Association CEO, David Wells, added: “The introduction of earned recognition will give a welcome boost to compliant operators across the UK’s road fleet, enabling them to focus on keeping Britain trading both at home and internationally, without lengthy administrative delays.

“DVSA will now be able to target its valuable roadside enforcement teams at those who jeopardise all other road users, while rewarding those who have exemplary records. FTA’s members are committed to improving standards and see earned recognition as a key driver in accelerating compliance and driving up performance right across the logistics sector.”

DVSA said it will still stop vehicles if they’re in an obviously dangerous condition. An operator’s vehicles could also be stopped for the Department for Transport (DfT)’s national fleet compliance survey, which needs a small sample of randomly checked vehicles.