OCRS is a mechanism which has been in operation since 2006. Changes were implemented in 2012 and the current system informs DVSA examiners of the probability of an operator being compliant or otherwise. An operator with a higher risk score is more likely to be inspected than those with lower risk scores enabling DVSA to prioritise and target investigations of those operators they consider most likely to be operating outside the law.
OCRS operates two scoring systems, one related to roadworthiness, which is concerned with the condition of a vehicle, and secondly traffic, which is mainly concerned with drivers hours and weighing checks. These scores are calculated from various sources including initial/annual test data, fleet check inspections, roadside inspections and prosecutions. They are updated weekly and cover a three year period on a rolling basis. The older an incident is the less weight is applied to it in the scoring system.
An operator’s score in each area is translated into an OCRS band which is based on a traffic light system of red, amber and green, indicating high, medium and low risk respectively. A grey band is issued for those operators for which they do not yet have sufficient information about to generate a score. It is worth noting that there are a number of events which put an operator straight into the red band, regardless of previous history and current score. These include the most serious infringements such as substantially exceeding driver’s hours and falsifying records, and will take the operator into the red for six months, in addition to any other enforcement action that could be taken.
The methods for calculating OCRS are becoming increasingly sophisticated and more detailed reports providing operators with further insight into the scoring system are increasingly being provided by DVSA.
It is crucial that an operator knows their score and acts accordingly to ‘monitor and manage’ if any issues are identified to enable them to demonstrate an appropriate level of due diligence. This will assist to both minimise the potential for further action to be taken and maximise the potential for a good outcome if the DVSA or Traffic Commissioner do get involved. Access to OCRS is done through an online account which every operator should register for as soon as possible.
Regular weekly checks of OCRS will also enable an operator to identify any mistakes and contact the DVSA promptly which is more likely to enable the mistake to be rectified.
Drivers should also be told to inform their operator immediately if they are stopped to ensure that a contemporaneous record can also be kept by the operator to compare to the DVSA records recorded within the OCRS in due course.
In conclusion, OCRS is here to stay and so operators should use it as a tool for their own benefit to manage and mitigate their risks and make it work for them as an integral part of their compliance strategy.
If you require any further information or advice regarding these matters or other DVSA related issues including investigations, prosecutions and Public Inquiries, Irwin Mitchell can assist.
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