Recovery Vehicle Definition.

    It would appear, and this has now been confirmed by various members that VOSA have been very active recently in “stopping” recovery vehicles to investigate fully the vehicles that are being transported. On that basis it was felt advisable to fully investigate and confirm the actual meaning of a “recovery vehicle” to ascertain VOSA’s definition. It is suggested that these details should be kept for future reference in the event of any further “stops”.

1)..Schedule 3 to the goods vehicles regulations 1995, lists the categories of goods vehicles that are exempt from operator licensing. Schedule 3, paragraph 27 confirms that a “Recovery Vehicle” is exempt from the requirement for an operators license to be held. A “Recovery Vehicle” is defined in Part V of Schedule 1 to the Vehicle and Excise and Registration Act 1994, as; “A vehicle which is constructed or permanently adapted primarily for any one of the purposes of lifting, towing and transporting a Disabled vehicle”.

2)..The 1994 Act DOES NOT give a definition of “Disabled”. It is confirmed that VOSA’s view is that “Disabled” should be given its ordinary meaning from the Oxford English Dictionary, thus “rendered incapable of action or use”.

3)..Therefore, if the recovery vehicle will be used exclusively for the removal of a “Disabled vehicle” either from a place where it became disabled to a place where it is to be repaired or scrapped; or, from premises to which it was taken for repair to other premises at which it is to be repaired or scrapped, this would meet the criteria for recovery and an operators license will not be required.

4)..If a vehicle is repaired and then returned to the customer, this return journey is not classed as recovery and a goods vehicle operator’s license would be required.

5)..The following sub headings DO NOT in VOSA’s view, constitute recovery..

       a)..Picking up cars or MOT failures from car auctions.
       b)..Picking up cars from Scrap yards.
       c)..Removing abandoned wheel clamped/abandoned vehicles from a road, unless that removal is under the instruction of the police of local authority.
VOSA advise that the above list is not exhaustive but should be considered a good indication of what activities may require an operators license.

With reference to the above where an HGV/trailer is used as a car transporter, for example delivering a NON DISABLED vehicle to a customer or dealership, this does not meet the criteria for recovery and a goods vehicle operator license would be required.

Where the NON DISABLED vehicle being transported is NOT the property of the operator of the recovery vehicle / transporter, for example when returning a repaired vehicle to a customer, this is considered to be the carriage of goods or burden for a third party and a “Standard” operators license would be required.

7)..Specialized Breakdown vehicle / tachographs…

VOSA advise that under Article 3 (f) of EU Regulations 561/2006 :
“Specialized Breakdown Vehicles operating within a 100km (62 miles) radius of their base” are identified as exempt from the EU drivers hours regulations. VOSA’s interpretation of this is as follows….

       a)..Specialized breakdown vehicle normally used within 100kms receives an unforeseen call out that will exceed 100kms, the driver must put a chart/driver card in the tachograph and start recording the driving immediately following the receipt of the call.
       b)..Specialized breakdown vehicle sets out on a journey where it is known that the 100km rule will be exceeded, driver must start using the tachograph from departure and record all driving.

VOSA’s view of a Specialized breakdown vehicle is one whose construction, fitments, or other characteristics were such that it would be mainly used for removing vehicles that had recently been involved in an accident or had broken down for another reason. The generally accepted carrying capacity being one on top and one behind (Slide and tilt and spec lift).


'Strength through unity and Professionalism'