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Traffic Commissioners Report

Regulators say the industry has much to be proud of Annual report brings welcomed news on the braking front the Traffic Commissioners for England reinforced in their latest annual report that the non-compliant are in the minority. After the regulators urged the industry to pay urgent attention to the safety of brakes on commercial vehicles, more and more operators have been investing in roller brake testing. Since 2014, the number of vehicles and trailers failing their MOT for poor brake performance has reduced by one third. That is a massive improvement. Although this announcement is both positive and encouraging, there is still a way to go. Some of the common issues still seen at Public Inquiries: • Vehicles tested unladen with wheels locking at low brake efforts • Failure of technicians to identify potentially serious road safety issues • Transport managers and operators that don’t understand the printouts • Pass printouts for vehicles where brakes are clearly not working as they should • Lack of understanding that the PMI standard applied must be above the minimum MOT standard (if the vehicle is to remain safe until its next inspection) You can view the full report here: Traffic Commissioners Annual Report...

Identity and security checks for authorised examiners have changed

From today (1 November 2019), anyone who becomes an authorised examiner or authorised examiner designated manager will need to have a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check carried out. This is the basic DBS check that verifies the applicant’s identity and will show any unspent convictions. You won’t have to do anything if you’re already authorised. We’ll only request that you submit a DBS check for any additions or changes to your authorisation, or possibly as part of an appeal against any disciplinary action that has been taken against you. This procedure replaces the counter-signing of driving licences or passports which used to be carried out to check credentials. We’ve done this to protect the integrity of the MOT and to simplify the process for applicants. Register on GOV.UK Register to request a DBS check and follow the...

Decelerometers added to connected MOT equipment

From 1 February 2020, anyone buying a new decelerometer for class 3, 4, 5 or 7 test lanes will need to make sure it’s a model that can connect to the MOT testing service. This comes after the 1 October 2019 changes for roller brake testers. The change includes buying replacement equipment, and as part of the process of getting authorisation to carry out MOTs at a test station. We’ve done this to modernise testing in garages, save garages time and reduce the risk of error and fraud. Working with manufacturers We’re working with manufacturers to develop other types of connectable equipment. The following items are estimated for introduction: • diesel smoke meters – late spring • exhaust gas analysers late spring • headlamp aligners – summer Until they are introduced, garages can continue to use their current models. You can find more about MOT garage equipment on GOV.UK The Garage Equipment Association lists all DVSA acceptable...

Revised guidance on categorisation of defects

Our guidance on how we categorise vehicle defects in roadside checks and vehicle tests has been updated today. This guide outlines the actions to take when roadworthiness defects are found during vehicle inspections. It aims to promote consistency amongst DVSA and Authorised Constable examiners. It is also useful for vehicle owners, operators and drivers for awareness of our standards. The revisions The changes include: • the introduction of tyre pressure measurement at the roadside for single fitment tyres • engine malfunction indicator lamp defects and additional notes for emission control system faults • extra notes for assessing lighting defects and number plates • updates to indirect vision devices • new defects for modified seatbelts. The revision record (Appendix A of the manual) has also been updated, which identifies all the changes in this...

Operation Brock actived on M20

The Operation Brock contraflow on the M20 in Kent is now active, Highways England has confirmed today (Monday 28 October). Drivers of lorries weighing more than 7.5 tonnes heading for Eurotunnel or the Port of Dover on the M20 should follow signs directing them onto the coastbound carriageway of the M20 between junction 8 for Maidstone and junction 9 for Ashford. A 30mph speed limit is in place and, in the event of disruption at the ports, lorries could be queued on this section of motorway. All other drivers can continue their journeys as normal. On the M20, two lanes remain open to traffic in each direction between junctions 8 and 9, using a contraflow on the London-bound carriageway, with a 50mph speed limit in place. Operation Brock is the name for a series of measures that improve Kent’s resilience in the event of cross-channel disruption. It has stages that can be deployed sequentially, scaling up or down to meet demand. In addition to the M20 contraflow, lorries can be routed to Manston Airfield and, if needed, the M26 motorway can be closed and used to queue HGVs too. The operation is an interim measure which was successfully deployed in March 2019, and crucially keeps the M20 open in both directions using a contraflow system. It has been deployed now in response to potential delays at the ports in the coming days or weeks. Its deployment will be kept under continual review and it will be stood down when it is no longer...

Office of the Traffic Commissioner

Fleet increase turned down after operator took too long to catch up with requirements Commissioner attaches little weight to transport consultant’s report and FORS silver status Whenever a business applies to run more vehicles, DVSA look at the operator’s compliance history to see if a fleet inspection is needed. It’s common sense really. The Traffic Commissioner needs to know the vehicles are being looked after properly at the current level. At a recent public inquiry, the Traffic Commissioner for the East of England, Richard Turfitt, was asked to consider an increase of 10 vehicles and 7 trailers for an operator. Maintenance concerns DVSA’s maintenance investigation revealed numerous shortcomings for the existing 18 vehicle and 3 trailer fleet, including ineffective forward planning, significant gaps in safety inspections and concerns around driver defect reporting with six prohibitions issued for tyre defects. The operator gave a positive and prompt response to DVSA’s visit but key staff hadn’t picked up vital information, such as changes to the agency’s Guide to Maintaining Roadworthiness in 2018. Quality of audit reports The Commissioner found issues with audit reports provided by the company, saying there was little in the audit to explain the shortcomings identified. In reality it wasn’t much more than a single page of observations without much evidence to back them up. As a result, he couldn’t attach much weight to the report from the transport consultant or the FORS status. Too long to catch up The Commissioner said it had taken too long for the operator to catch up with current requirements. It should have been obvious what the business needed to do. As...

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...