Fleet operators have been urged to keep light commercial vehicles (LCVs) in top condition in light of a crackdown on maintenance standards by the Vehicle & Operator Services Agency (Vosa).

LCVs account for more than 40 per cent of the four million business vehicles on the UK's roads. According to Vosa, they are involved in twice as many accidents as HGVs and have an MoT failure rate of 50 per cent.

The agency aims to tackle low compliance with maintenance standards by carrying out "tactical" checks at appropriate locations. It is also working with trade bodies to spread the message that it is determined to improve LCVs through joint working, education, assistance and, where necessary, enforcement action. This could take the form of vehicle prohibition notices, fines - and even prison.

Automotive parts and repair specialist Kwik Fit, which has invested to ensure LCVs can be accommodated at the majority of its 670 national centres, is urging vehicle owners and operators to ensure their fleets are up to scratch.

Peter Lambert, the company's fleet director, said: "Vehicle compliance is a critical aspect of every fleet operator's job and Vosa has made it clear that it will not tolerate poor LCV standards.

"We are recording a significant increase in the volume of mechanical work being carried out on vans at our centres. We anticipate that will continue to increase due to our long-established reputation for high quality service delivery built on the repair and replacement of tyres, batteries and exhausts and now extending to vehicle-related mechanical work."

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