As well as being the year that England won the World Cup, 1966 was also the year the Freight Transport Association’s Vehicle Inspection Service (VIS) came into being.
Celebrating its 50th anniversary this summer, VIS remains FTA’s largest business with a turnover of £8.5 million in 2016 and its 70-strong team of engineers carried out 71,000 visits in 2015. As well as inspecting commercial vehicles, the team inspects mechanical handling equipment, passenger carrying vehicles and offers a tanker inspection and certification service, whilst the prestigious Roadworthiness Awards recognise FTA members that have excellent standards of vehicle safety and maintenance.
VIS came into being after the Minister for Transport, Ernest Maples, called road transport industry leaders together to demand that they do something about the dangerous state of some of the vehicles on the road. The minister’s concerns translated into regulation and in 1968 the Testing, Plating and Braking Regulations came into force, introducing annual tests and braking standards.
FTA spotted the opportunity for a totally independent inspection service, one that had no vested interest in carrying out repairs, and in June 1966 the first ever FTA vehicle inspection was carried out. The service was quick to expand to meet demand, growing rapidly from five vehicle inspectors in 1966 to 40 by the end of 1968.
Tony Beard, General Manager – VIS Operations, says: “We are proud and delighted that our flagship service has provided so much help, support and advice for FTA members for the past 50 years. FTA VIS has played a vital role in ensuring legal compliance and safe and sound operation for thousands of member companies and will undoubtedly do so for many years to come.”
The road transport industry is amongst the most highly regulated sectors of UK industry and that regulation has resulted in an admirable and improving safety record. Statistics show that vehicles FTA has inspected have on average 66% less wheel defects and 57% less brake defects compared to the national average.
Further information on FTA’s Vehicle Inspection Service can be found at www.fta.co.uk/vis