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The DVSA and DfT have discovered and confirmed something that many British road users might find surprising. Foreign HGVs are just as roadworthy – and comply with just as many regulations – as their UK counterparts. It’s often assumed by many drivers in the UK that foreign vehicles are less likely to meet all the rules and regulations of this country’s roads than British vehicles, which certainly used to be the case. But it’s time to put that assumption firmly in the past and reach a new conclusion – backed up by data which has been analysed by the Department for Transport based on figures collected by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency.


The two organisations discovered the new trend by looking at prohibitions versus checks over a period of time. Of all the vehicles checked, both from the UK and abroad, the DVSA and DfT calculated how many had resulted in a prohibition because of some kind of fault on the part of the driver or the vehicle itself. In the past, there has been a noticeable gap in the roadworthiness of HGVs from Britain and from abroad, but that is no longer the case, with data trends showing that the gap is continuing to close year on year.

HGV CAT C Licence

These current figures were collected between April 2016 and March 2017, and show that whilst in previous years foreign vehicles were more likely to be slapped with a penalty for non-compliance, the gap is now negligible. Just 15.4% of non-British vehicles were given prohibition notices during the last period, compared with 12.5% for British vehicles, showing a tiny gap which has closed even more since last year.


The data covers traffic compliance and roadworthiness for vehicles including HGVs, buses and trailers. And for those who might be concerned about the skill and compliance of drivers themselves, the data also shows that traffic offences among foreign drivers are only 4% higher than among British drivers – 14% to 10%. The causes for these trends are unclear, but it’s thought that improvements among foreign vehicles – and a static state of quality among domestic ones – are partly to blame.


And when it comes to vehicle defect rates specifically, foreign vehicles are actually ahead, with 24% having defects, compared with 24.7% of British vehicles.


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