Fleets urged to check vehicle safety recalls or face £20,000 fine and prison

Fleets have been urged to check vehicles for outstanding safety recalls or risk a £20,000 fine and/or up to three months in prison.

Additionally, for fleet owners, operators and businesses that provide fleet services, a vehicle with an outstanding recall could see insurance voided.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), together with the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), has called on UK fleet operators to join the millions of consumers who have checked if their vehicles have an outstanding safety recall.

To ensure every vehicle on a company’s books is compliant, the SMMT has launched a fleet-dedicated version of its Vehicle Safety Recall Service. The service provides a bulk automated look-up tool, allowing companies to check any size fleet and up to 100,000 or more in a single batch. The service is fully automated with results usually returned within the hour.

In the first three months of this year, SMMT’s online Vehicle Safety Recalls Service was used 2,334,385 times by drivers to check their car was safe.

Manufacturers work closely with the DVSA to ensure the UK has one of the world’s most successful vehicle safety recall processes.

However, recalls can be missed when a vehicle transfers between keepers so, in 2015, SMMT and its members developed a consumer-facing online look-up service to make it easier for individual drivers to check for themselves.

The service has now been rolled out to meet specific commercial needs for fleet owners, operators and businesses that provide fleet services.

Further, the DVSA has the power to prosecute businesses that sell vehicles to consumers with an outstanding safety recall. Failure to check a car for an outstanding safety recall could lead to a fine of up to £20,000 and/or up to three months imprisonment.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “The UK vehicle recall process is one of the most robust in the world, and manufacturers are committed to ensuring vehicles remain safe throughout their lifecycles, constantly striving to make the process even better. Our vehicle safety recall tool has already given peace of mind to millions of consumers and now it is supporting businesses, helping to keep fleets and retailers compliant, and vehicles safe on the road by enabling entire fleets to be checked quickly and regularly.”

Safety recalls are issued by vehicle manufacturers, which are responsible for contacting owners to notify them that their car may have a problem that needs to be rectified by an authorised repairer. The General Product Safety Regulations 2005 say that dealers must get vehicles with outstanding recalls fixed before selling on to a consumer. If they do not, they can be prosecuted by Trading Standards.

All recall repair work linked to safety issues is free of charge for customers and scheduled as a matter of urgency. A recall notice remains open indefinitely to ensure as many cars as possible are sent back to dealerships to be fixed.

The SMMT says its Vehicle Safety Recall Service is an easy way for fleet owners to check, all at once, if their vehicles are subject to a safety recall that they may have missed.

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