Vehicle Defects

The Vehicle Defect Rectification Scheme ensures that vehicle faults recorded by the Police are put right

The Vehicle Defect Rectification Scheme ensures that vehicle faults recorded by the Police are put right

The Vehicle Defect Rectification Scheme ensures that vehicle faults recorded by the Police are put right

The Vehicle Defect Rectification Scheme (VDRS) was introduced by police forces across England, Scotland and Wales in the mid-1980s.

VDRS applies to passenger cars, motorcycles and mopeds, and small goods vehicles. It also applies to any trailer or caravan being towed by a vehicle covered by the scheme.

VDRS may be used alone or in conjunction with a fixed penalty notice and gives you an opportunity to avoid prosecution by getting vehicle defects fixed and examined.

Police use of the VDRS is voluntary.  If you are given the opportunity to participate in the scheme you will be required to get any police-noted defect fixed as soon as possible and to provide suitable evidence within 14 days that you have done. If you fail to do so you will face the prospect of prosecution, points on your licence and a fine.

Driver responsibility

As the driver you are responsible for making sure that any vehicle you are driving is maintained in a roadworthy condition and free of defects.

If the vehicle is subject to MOT testing it is not sufficient to rely on the annual test alone – this is only a check of the vehicle's condition at the time of the test and does not guarantee that the vehicle will remain defect-free and roadworthy until the next test.

It is not a defence to claim that you were unaware of a particular defect either. You should carry out regular safety checks and are expected to make sure that any vehicle you drive is in a safe and roadworthy condition before you drive.

The acronym 'FLOWER', standing for fuel, lights, oil, water, electrics, rubber, will help you remember the basic checks that you should be carrying out regularly

Types of vehicle defect

The VDRS will only be used for relatively minor defects only such as cracked light lenses, blown bulbs, worn tyre, illegal number plate etc.

Major defects are those such as defective brakes which present a serious safety risk both to you and to other road users. Driving a vehicle in a dangerous condition is a serious offence.  The Police will issue a prohibition notice stopping you from using the vehicle and you will face the prospect of a substantial fine, points on your licence or prosecution.

Inspection of defects

You will normally be required to take the vehicle to an MOT test station to obtain official verification that the defect(s) noted by the Police have been rectified.  If the MOT test centre is a general repair garage you can of course ask them to repair the defect too.

If the nominated tester is satisfied that all defects listed on the vehicle defect rectification form have been properly rectified he will complete the appropriate section of the form.  Check that they have included their Vehicle Test Station number and that the form has been endorsed using an official embossing or rubber stamp showing the testing station's business details.

This is not a formal MOT test.  You will pay a commercial rate for the inspection (no set fees are published) and you should be told of any other faults the tester notices in the course of his inspection, but no MOT paperwork will be issued.

(4 July 2012)