VOSA`s “Guide to Vehicle Ability” makes it clear that operators must take steps to ensure that their maintenance operator`s work is up to date: “Even if you are in good contact with a contractor, you should have a regular quality monitoring system. Obtaining annual test data from the first period holder is a way to verify that their performance is satisfactory, but this should be supplemented by other audits. Any signs of incompetence, incompetence or other inadequacies leading to a reduction in the standards achieved should be taken into account immediately. Here too, a good working relationship can help, but if problems persist, you may want to consider changing contractors. The work can be assigned, but the responsibility for safe, legal and efficient maintenance is always left with the user of the vehicle. Daf and Mercedes-Benz, for example, are taking this two-step approach to their maintenance programs, but other manufacturers prefer to offer more choice. Volvo Trucks, for example, offers three levels: blue, silver and gold. Blue is essentially a service contract, while Silver and Gold are both R-M contracts that offer different levels of inclusion. MAN has another one with four maintenance contracts. All include ventilation and restoration. Iveco sits at the top of the tree: its Elements program offers no less than five levels, so operators can fine-tune their coverage. If you do not do this work yourself, you must provide the Transport Commissioner with a copy of a contract with a maintenance supplier. You are always responsible for the condition of your vehicles and trailers, even if they are serviced for you by someone else.
The good thing about maintenance contracts is that they offer a monthly fee that you know of and that are (more or less) fixed for the duration of the contract. The price is normally indexed to the RPI (Retail Prices Index), with the contract fee adjusted each year. As a general rule, however, it is possible to choose a truly fixed and inequivalent rate. According to the offers we have received, these should cost between 3.5% and 6% more than a tracking RPI: this is your view on where inflation goes and whether inflation protection is worth the most. According to James Ostridge, head of service contracts at Mercedes-Benz UK, more than 90% of Mercedes` R-M customers choose to protect themselves by setting inflation prices. The Freight Transport Association (FTA) estimates that more than 50% of the safety deficiencies discovered by its vehicle inspection service should have been recovered during the driver`s taxi control. As an operator, your operator`s driver`s license requirements for the ability to drive are partly in the hands of your drivers and your maintenance provider, but at the end of the day, the goat stops at home – a disappointing idea that should remain the first to choose who controls, who controls and drives your vehicles.