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The Office of the Traffic Commissioner

Operator licensing: the baseline standard for all Scheme provides benchmark for commercial vehicle safety and compliance Your operator licence may only be made up of a few pieces of paper but it’s a vital document. Having a licence means you can use vehicles to transport goods or people and earn income from doing so. An O licence shows your commitment to compliance. That you’ve agreed to run safe vehicles. Check your drivers are working within the rules. And compete fairly with other operators. When you’re bidding for work, you might be asked to show accreditation with other initiatives before you can go for a contract. Schemes designed to promote road safety are always welcome. But it’s important to remember that sometimes the safety element is just one part. That’s why the traffic commissioners regularly remind everyone that operator licensing is the baseline. Gaining accreditation elsewhere doesn’t automatically mean there’s compliance with operator licensing requirements. And it hasn’t stopped some operators from appearing at public inquiry. As a compliant operator, you know that it’s your responsibility first and foremost to achieve and maintain the commitments that appear on your licence...

Kent roads ready for Brexit as hauliers gear up for 31 October

Operation Brock to keep the M20 open in both directions in the event of disruption to services across the English Channel. • vital work will ensure Kent traffic management system, Operation Brock, is ready to go ahead of Brexit • new powers will help protect local roads and ensure hauliers comply with the Operation Brock system • government urges hauliers to check they have the right documents before travelling on 31 October The final preparations to keep Britain moving after Brexit are taking place as traffic management preparations in Kent are stepped up, government has announced today (14 October 2019). Operation Brock will go live on 28 October to manage any traffic disruption and help keep trade moving in and out of the UK. The government has worked closely with the Kent Resilience Forum to implement the scheme, which will manage any delays to Europe-bound freight while protecting local roads from disruption. It will keep the M20 open in both directions for all other traffic, minimising any impacts on local residents, businesses and public services. This comes as the Department for Transport launches a targeted information campaign to ensure hauliers know what to expect if they are travelling to the Port of Dover or Eurotunnel in a no-deal Brexit scenario. Transport Minister Chris Heaton-Harris, said: We want residents in Kent and hauliers travelling from across the EU to be reassured that there are robust plans in place to deal with any disruption in the event of a no-deal Brexit. We now need everyone to do their bit – whether you are travelling to see family, heading to work or...

Office of the Traffic Commissioner: Lengthy ban for licence lending

________________________________________ Lengthy ban for licence lending Scottish waste firm wasn’t scheduling work, covering maintenance costs or paying drivers for vehicles on its licence The lending of O licences is an issue which traffic commissioners take very seriously. First off, it’s a matter of trust. If a licence is being used by someone else, we don’t know who’s running the vehicles. Which means they’ve not faced the necessary checks to get into the industry. But it’s also a fair competition issue. As a compliant operator, you’re meeting all the relevant standards. If someone’s lending a licence, they aren’t working within the same rules. Which means they’ve got an unfair advantage when bidding for work. ________________________________________ Taking action That’s why commissioners take strong action against any operator caught lending their licence. It’s a massive risk to their own business. Take this case, which was dealt with just last month. The company was disqualified for seven and a half years for lending its licence. One of the firm’s directors was banned from getting another licence for the same period, while three others were banned for five years. And the transport manager was disqualified indefinitely. DVSA reported that the company wasn’t scheduling work, covering maintenance costs or paying drivers for four vehicles specified on its licence. ________________________________________ Other compliance issues But there were other concerns too. The traffic examiner found: • the operator didn’t have a company card to download vehicle units or driver cards and had no software to carry out analysis – despite getting digital vehicles in 2006 • a significant number of driving periods with no card inserted when records...

Office of the Traffic Commissioner: Driver conduct: how decisions are made

Driver conduct: how decisions are made Earlier this week we told you about our latest consultation on professional driver conduct. Regulating lorry, bus and coach drivers is a part of the commissioners’ work which isn’t as well-known as their other responsibilities. Each year, around 3000 professional drivers are called to hearings about their conduct. Kevin Rooney, the West of England Traffic Commissioner, has just dealt with a driver who falsified his records. We’ve broken the case down to show how commissioners reach their decisions. The case A HGV driver is convicted of 14 offences of falsification after DVSA investigations revealed serious offences were hidden by false records. To give one example, a vehicle was stationary for only 7 hours and 47 minutes between two full shifts. ________________________________________ The evidence In this case, the offences have been proven in court. DVSA’s evidence from the investigation is also considered by the Traffic Commissioner. The driver gets an opportunity to put his case forward. He says he thought the card could be removed if the vehicle wasn’t being used for hire or reward. He admits taking the tractor unit home on occasions, which was when he removed the card. ________________________________________ The balancing exercise Mr Rooney does a balancing exercise, weighing up the positive and negative features of the case. He says the driver has started to learn from the enforcement and regulatory processes. He accepts the driver’s evidence that there’s been no further offending since the investigation. And the driver was cooperative with DVSA. ________________________________________ The starting points Statutory guidance helps the commissioners to deal with driver conduct cases. It tells them...

Regulators launch consultation on professional driver conduct guidance

The Senior Traffic Commissioner for Great Britain has today (29 May 2019) called on professional drivers, commercial vehicle operators, legal representatives and road safety stakeholders to take part in a review of guidance on the conduct of drivers. The consultation looks at the Commissioner’s existing statutory document for vocational licence holders and proposes a number of changes. • the starting points for taking action against professional drivers • cases involving Armed Service Personnel • case examples of how drivers will be dealt with The purpose of the driver conduct process is to ensure lorry, bus and coach drivers are fit to drive large commercial vehicles. Traffic commissioners are responsible for regulating these drivers and can take action against them for failing to meet the relevant standards. The statutory document helps traffic commissioners to be consistent in their decision-making and contains useful information for drivers and those who employ them. Senior Traffic Commissioner for Great Britain, Richard Turfitt, said: “Our aim is to provide clear guidance and continue to improve transparency in the way we come to our decisions. Without a framework, we would not be in a position to ensure consistent and fair regulation of the transport industry or to continue to modernise the licensing regime. “I encourage professional drivers and their employees, as well as our other key stakeholders, to review our proposals and give us feedback on the intended changes.” The consultation runs until 23 July...

Large vehicles requiring a smart tachograph

Large vehicles requiring a smart tachograph Any vehicles first registered on or after 15 June 2019, which require a tachograph to be fitted, will need to have a type 1C unit tachograph. These are also called smart tachographs. Drivers of vehicles which require tachographs, but fail to have one fitted or have the wrong type fitted could face enforcement...
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