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Driver’s “hot-headed” conduct increased risks to other road users

Actions made it more difficult for DVSA to carry out its enforcement activities A driver who drove erratically after being told to stop by DVSA acted in a “wholly disproportionate” manner and increased the risks to other road users through his behaviour. Simon Evans, the North West Traffic Commissioner, heard the driver closed the gap between vehicles at speed on more than one occasion – only stopping inches from the rear bumper of the DVSA vehicle. This “hot-headed conduct” had made the agency’s job of checking vehicles at the roadside more difficult. Mr Evans was also told the driver had sworn at the enforcement officer and that his actions had been intimidating. The driver – who was the operator of the vehicle as well – admitted he’d acted “stupidly” and said he regretted losing control on the day of the encounter. Mr Evans said the “wholly improper” behaviour would reduce the operator’s credibility with other staff in his employment. Stretched maintenance inspections and issues over the entity running the vehicles were also picked up during a public inquiry. As a result, the Traffic Commissioner made an order to revoke the operator’s licence. He also found the requirements of fitness and availability of financial resources were not met. DVSA has made clear that it won’t tolerate physical or verbal abuse of its staff. Traffic commissioners support the agency’s campaign to tackle any unacceptable behaviour DVSA staff may face when carrying out their professional...

Disqualification for Transport Manager

Disqualification for transport manager lacking the skills to operate at an acceptable level of compliance Significant and systemic failings down to lamentably low standard of professional competence A recent case heard at public inquiry has resulted in an operator’s licence being suspended with the threat of revocation, if the operator doesn’t appoint a new transport manager in time. Traffic Commissioner for Wales, Nick Jones, said the failings found during a DVSA investigation were “significant and systemic to the business”. The regulator added that the firm’s transport manager lacked professional competence, and this urgently needed to be addressed on road safety grounds. Several serious failings in the safety of the vehicles were found, while drivers had no clear understanding of how defects should be reported. An obvious and serious defect in the form of a cracked brake disc was initially disputed by the transport manager. When issued with a prohibition for a damaged tyre, his response was “oh don’t worry, it’s got plenty of tread left”. Mr Jones expressed his concerns at the apparent lack of appreciation of the issues raised during the DVSA investigation. Serious inadequacies including lack of brake performance results, missing roadworthiness signatures and incomplete inspection records led the Commissioner to conclude the maintenance was “wholly inadequate”. Mr Jones said he felt the transport manager was a honest individual but didn’t appear to have the skills or competence to undertake a proper transport manager role. The operator was urged to consider whether to bring in a new transport manager or to close the business in an orderly...

Learner drivers on motorways: what lorry and coach drivers need to know

Mark Winn, DVSA Chief Driving Examiner, Monday 4 June 2018, you’ll see learner drivers having motorway driving lessons in England, Scotland and Wales. As professional drivers and operators, you rely on the motorway network to help transport goods or passengers across Great Britain. So, I want to explain how the rules work, the benefits for learner drivers, and how this will ultimately benefit you. How the rules work Any motorway lessons learner drivers take will be voluntary. They must be with an approved driving instructor – so there’ll be no learners driving up the M1 with mum or dad in the passenger seat. The car they’re driving must have dual-controls and must display L plates. Driving instructors will only take learner drivers on the motorway when they have the right skills and experience to drive in a high-speed environment. They already practise driving on dual carriageways, so this will be a natural progression. Driving instructors are highly-skilled and spend their lives training people to drive safely. They’ll be sitting next to their pupil in their driving school car – so for their own safety, they’re very unlikely to take anyone who is not ready onto the motorway. What motorway lessons include During motorway lessons, learner drivers will be trained on: • how to join and leave the motorway, overtake and use lanes correctly • using smart motorways correctly • driving at high speed in motorway conditions • motorway-specific traffic signs • what to do if a vehicle breaks down on a motorway We think it’s much safer for learners to be accompanied by a professional driving instructor the first...

New laws pave way for remote control parking in the UK

From June 2018 drivers will be able to use remote control parking on British roads. • innovative new laws mean people can use technology like remote control parking on British roads from June • drive-assist technologies will make motorist’s lives easier and improve accessibility New laws introduced yesterday (16 May 2018) will mean that from next month drivers will be able to use remote control parking on British roads. Changes to the Highway Code and relevant regulations were consulted on earlier this year and received overwhelming support from a range of groups including manufacturers, insurance groups and haulage companies. Developments like remote control parking and motorway assist have the potential to transform car travel for those with mobility challenges, unlocking tight parking spaces and using computers to help driver accuracy on the road. Not only that, but technology has the potential to make driving more energy efficient meaning cheaper, cleaner journeys, with improved air quality for both drivers and pedestrians. The updates will provide clarity for motorists about how the technologies can be used, and allow the increased use of features like cruise control, providing significant advantages for drivers. With gadgets like these already available on some vehicle models, the updates see the law moulding to the modern driving world, making sure drivers are ready to use their new technology safely and ensuring the law is flexible for future breakthroughs. Jesse Norman, Transport Minister said: Advanced driver assistance systems are already starting to revolutionise driving. It’s encouraging to see the strong support for these innovations from a range of stakeholders. We will continue to review our driving laws, in...

What do the operators think of earned recognition?

The DVSA earned recognition went live on, Tuesday 24 April 2018. It’s been a long, long road to get here (no pun intended) and we’d like to thank everyone who’s supported the pilot. We’ve written a lot about how earned recognition works before, so I won’t go over it all again here. Instead, I wanted to share with you what some of the early operators on the pilot had to say about their experiences and why earned recognition is right for them. Staples Vegetables Staples were the first HGV haulier to sign up for the pilot – before it even had a name! They were approached by Phil Lapczuk, a member of DVSA staff, who asked them if they were interested in taking part. …we were then pretty sure that we ran a compliant outfit. We agreed to be part of what was later named ‘Earned Recognition’ (ER) because we wanted to prove that this was indeed the case. They found that taking part in earned recognition was an “eye opener” and that lots of their processes and protocols have sharpened up as a result. Being on the scheme gives us peace of mind about how we run transport… ER has also improved our relationship with our service providers. Even in the pilot stage, Staples have seen lots of benefits from earned recognition. They say it’s made their transport division more efficient and that the key performance indicators (KPIs) have helped them focus on important outstanding issues. They’ve also seen other benefits: The relationship with our drivers and how they now approach compliance has improved. We take a lot...

Learner drivers on motorways from 4 June 2018

Learner drivers can take motorway driving lessons with an approved driving instructor from 4 June 2018. From Monday 4 June 2018, learner drivers will be able to take driving lessons on motorways in England, Scotland and Wales. This will help to make sure more drivers know how to use motorways safely. Now, you can only have motorway lessons after you’ve passed your driving test. Some newly-qualified drivers take lessons through the voluntary Pass Plus scheme. How the change will work Learner drivers will need to be: • accompanied by an approved driving instructor • driving a car fitted with dual controls Any motorways lessons will be voluntary. It will be up to the driving instructor to decide when the learner driver is competent enough for them. Until the law changes, it’s still illegal for a learner driver to drive on a motorway. The change only applies to learner drivers of cars. Learner motorcyclists won’t be allowed on motorways. Trainee driving instructors won’t be allowed to take learner drivers on the motorway. Motorway driving isn’t being introduced to the driving test as part of this change. Making sure road users are ready for the change The change is being well-publicised so that: • driving instructors and learner drivers are prepared • other road users know what to expect The Highway Code rules on motorways will be updated. Driving near learner drivers on the motorway As with any vehicle on the motorway, keep a safe distance from a learner driver in front of you. Increase the gap on wet or icy roads, or in fog. You should always be patient with...

Section 19 and 22 permits: how to apply EU Regulation 1071/2009

The Department for Transport (DfT) is asking for comments about proposed changes to law and guidance about who can operate public service vehicles (PSVs) without a PSV licence.

Government introduces Haulage Permits and Trailer Registration Bill

Bill gives powers to support UK hauliers operating internationally after the UK leaves the EU. The government has on 7 February 2018 introduced legislation on cross-border haulage as the UK continues its preparations for life outside the EU. The UK’s overall aim in the negotiations with the EU is to maintain and develop the existing liberalised access for commercial haulage, as part of the wider future partnership.

Drivers’ hours: changes to fines for commercial drivers

The rules will change from 5 March 2018 so lorry, bus and coach drivers who drive tired will be fined for every time they’ve done it in the last 28 days. If you drive a lorry, bus or coach, you must follow rules on how many hours you can drive and the breaks you need to take. The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) can fine drivers up to £300 if they’re caught breaking the rules. They can also be prosecuted or have their vehicle immobilised.