The number of roadside inspections conducted by Vosa has fallen by more than a third since 2010, according to figures from the enforcement agency.
However, the industry perception contradicts the official figures after a survey found that 42% of transport firms believe Vosa is increasing its checks.
During 2010/11 Vosa said it carried out 221,660 roadside inspections, but this had fallen by 35% to 144,472 in 2012/13.
A spokesman told CM that it had been “increasingly targeting the serious and serially non-compliant to ensure that we deal with the highest risk traffic”.
But research carried out by TomTom Business Solutions found a large number of firms think that roadside checks are on the rise. It surveyed 152 operators at the end of July.
TomTom UK and Ireland director Giles Margerison said a perception that things are worse than they are had possibly played a part. “A lot of respondents were from SMEs with fewer vehicles, and we know Vosa has been targeting them more frequently than larger [operators].
“Look at small transport firms; they operate a lot of vans and Vosa is clamping down on them. Maybe to SMEs it feels like there’s an increase. If you speak to our customers, they are more concerned about the need to have their ducks in a row, from a legislative perspective.”
Last month, the Transport Select Committee criticised Vosa and raised concerns that “undue reliance on the [OCRS] could have a distorting effect whereby larger operators are not being monitored effectively”.