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Are you keeping the right records about your business?

Are you keeping the right records about your business? Traffic Commissioner calls on you and other restricted operators to record main occupation and income Do you keep track of your minibus income and time? Has your main occupation changed? Last month, a minibus operator who didn’t keep records of his full time work lost his licence. When you completed your licence application, you had to declare your main occupation. That’s because the law says you can only run PSVs on a part time basis under a restricted licence. If you start running PSVs full time, you’ve got to get a standard licence. Traffic commissioners can check whether you are still meeting the main occupation criteria and DVSA staff will make enquiries when they’re carrying out their enforcement activities. What should you do now? Confirm your main occupation is the same as when you applied for your licence. If it isn’t, notify the Office of the Traffic Commissioner. Check what records you’ve kept about your income from the PSVs on your licence. If you don’t have any, you’ll need to review your accounts and the P60 for your main occupation. If you get more income from running PSVs than from your other occupation(s), or you spend more time on the PSV business than on any other occupation, you must apply for a standard licence...

Looking after your licence discs

Looking after your licence discs Always check vehicles you’re selling or aren’t running Think about the last vehicle you sold or took off your licence. Do you remember what you did with the licence disc? Chances are you took it out of the vehicle. But sometimes in business you can get distracted and forget that one last task. We’ve been out speaking to operators recently about some of the challenges they face. One company told us that getting discs out of vehicles had been an issue for them. In fact, leaving a disc in a vehicle by mistake impacted on their OCRS score. The vehicle was presented for MOT and failed. This was recorded against the company’s O licence. They weren’t operating the vehicle but the disc had been displayed in the window when it was presented for test. Even though records can be changed, this one small omission caused issues. Looking after O licence discs is a vital part of your vehicle management. Vehicles you’ve taken off your licence should be checked too – if a disc is still in the window, it could be mistakenly used or put into service without licence...

Transport manager could have prevented serious failings

Transport manager could have prevented serious failings CPC holder stepped down but Traffic Commissioner says that decision, like his other actions, was too late Promoting culture of compliance across a business can be challenging. Your commitment to safe vehicle and driver operations relies on every individual making the right decisions, maintaining the daily discipline of checks and procedures. When you’ve got a transport manager in place to do that, it’s vital to make sure they’re actually delivering too. Beyond keeping the roads safe, your professional competence depends on it. In a recent case, West of England Traffic Commissioner Kevin Rooney found that even though a haulier employed several transport managers, no-one was properly carrying out the role. DVSA reported several shortcomings, including ineffective drivers’ hours management. Vehicle units were being downloaded every eight weeks with safety inspections. But Mr Rooney said this was unacceptable for such a large fleet of vehicles. Another serious concern was the lack of any in-year brake testing for trailers. The Traffic Commissioner found the organisation’s satellite sites hadn’t complied with central management requests. He said this culture needed to be challenged and that trailers must have brake tests. He also pointed out that the one transport manager who could have prevented the failings didn’t. Although the TM decided to stand down, Mr Rooney said this had come too late. He was disqualified for a year. Even though the company had made some improvements by the time of the inquiry, most only happened after the hearing was announced. The company’s licence was curtailed from 130 to 90 vehicles indefinitely. For more information about the duties...

The importance of education

The importance of education Traffic commissioners begin series of autumn speaking engagements Over the next few months, your local Traffic Commissioner will be getting out and about to talk about the value of staying compliant. Every year they’re asked to do a series of speaking engagements with the trade bodies, along with other events, which includes Fleet Live in Birmingham and the Movers & Storers Show in Manchester for 2018. Speaking to operators who get things right is a really valuable part of the commissioners’ work. They know that you seek out DVSA guidance and take advice from qualified experts. But even so, it’s important to get reassurance and guidance from the person who actually issued your licence. And to hear what they’re doing to keep dangerous operators out of the industry. The commissioners don’t just cover operator licensing matters either. Running a business involves lots of different rules and these don’t all relate to transport. Look out for further bulletins over the next few months about these speaking engagements to find out the key messages from your Traffic...

Stay safe, stay back

Stay safe, stay back New Highways England campaign highlights the risks of tailgating Have you seen the new road safety campaign from Highways England yet? It was launched last week to show the dangers of driving too close to other vehicles. With over a quarter of drivers admitting to tailgating, the campaign tells road users: “don’t be a space invader”. There’s a video raising awareness of the risks, based on the popular game Space Invader. You can also visit the dedicated website launched by Highways England and apply for a free sticker pack to warn other motorists about the...

Failure to carry out ”bread and butter” tasks leads to disqualification for transport manager

Failure to carry out “bread and butter” tasks leads to disqualification for transport manager CPC holder has to retake examination if he wants to work as a transport manager again Specifying vehicles. Managing O licence discs. Setting up and running systems to record, analyse and monitor drivers’ hours. These are the “bread and butter” activities every transport manager should be on top of. It’s something the North East Traffic Commissioner, Tim Blackmore, emphasised earlier this month when he disqualified a transport manager. The TM admitted at public inquiry that he hadn’t undertaken any further training since qualifying in 1996. That’s over 20 years. Mr Blackmore also found the O licence holder didn’t have a contract with the transport manager. So there was no genuine link and the firm didn’t have professional competence. That’s a mandatory requirement for standard licence holders. A DVSA investigation revealed the operator didn’t have a company card to download vehicle units and hadn’t told the Office of the Traffic Commissioner about a change of maintenance provider. Mr Blackmore said the list of failings fell “fairly and squarely” under the responsibility of the transport manager. Disqualifying the TM until he has re-taken and passed the CPC examination, the Traffic Commissioner also curtailed the company’s O licence and gave them a period of grace to find a new transport manager. Guidance: Transport manager...

Eight year ban for operator who pretended he had a transport manager

Eight year ban for operator who pretended he had a transport manager Deputy Traffic Commissioner takes action with honest, compliant operators in mind A coach operator who failed to tell the Office of the Traffic Commissioner that it didn’t have a transport manager has been banned from running vehicles. Deputy Traffic Commissioner for Scotland, Hugh Olson, said action was necessary to correct the unfair advantage the operator gained over others. The absence of a TM impacted directly on safety standards, including two S marked prohibitions. At public inquiry, the operator’s solicitor admitted a root cause of the poor maintenance record was the absence of a transport manager. A partner in the business had deceived the Office of the Traffic Commissioner for at least eight years over the TM position. He also made a false declaration on paperwork in 2015. In his decision Mr Olson said that most operators, like you, invest time and money in having proper maintenance systems in place. He added that the disqualification would make it clear to industry how seriously this type of conduct is viewed. The licence was revoked on loss of repute. The partnership behind the licence had also been dissolved. The Deputy Commissioner also refused a new licence application made by the remaining partner. READ: transport manager...

Making the right move for your O licence

What would you do if you had to move all your vehicles from your authorised operating centre because of events outside your control? It’s not an unrealistic scenario. The land could be sold for development, meaning you’ve no longer got permission to keep vehicles there. Whatever the scenario, you’ll need to act fast. Finding an alternative location at short notice – and getting permission from the Traffic Commissioner – won’t happen overnight. As you know, you’ve always got to continue to meet the condition on your licence. But, if you’re deprived of your operating centre at short notice and notify the Office of the Traffic Commissioner (OTC) straight away, a limited period of grace could be given for you to find a new operating centre. The Traffic Commissioner will need to be satisfied that where you’re parking in the meantime is safe and lawful. It’s important to remember that making an application for a permanent new operating centre is the priority. And you can ask for an interim licence to operate temporarily. For more information on operating centre requirements, please see our...

HGV driver disqualified for further 10 years after dangerous driving ban

HGV driver disqualified for further 10 years after dangerous driving ban Traffic Commissioner hears driver was speeding and using her mobile phone before crashing into a car A driver who asked for her vocational licence back after being banned for dangerous driving has been disqualified for 10 years by the Traffic Commissioner for Wales. Mr Jones said the circumstances of the driving which led to her conviction demonstrated a “wholesale disregard for road safety and other road users”. The driver crashed into a car while driving a HGV, which resulted in two children being airlifted to hospital. After admitting dangerous driving, she was jailed for 10 months in 2015 and disqualified from driving for three years. Investigations showed she’d been speeding and using mobile phones leading up to the incident. The Traffic Commissioner also found several previous endorsements on her licence for speeding and using a mobile phone whilst in a HGV. In a written decision issued after a conduct hearing, Mr Jones said the driver shouldn’t be able to drive HGVs for a very long period of time, in the interests of road safety. The driver will be disqualified from holding or obtaining a vocational licence for 10 years from the date her ordinary driving licence is returned. READ: guidance on vocational driver conduct SHARE: leaflet for professional drivers – put your phone...

Bus and coach drivers: Driver CPC deadline approaching

Bus and coach drivers: Driver CPC deadline approaching You only have 3 weeks left to finish your second block of Driver CPC training if you’re a bus or coach driver with ‘acquired rights’. You must finish your training by the end of Sunday 9 September 2018. If you drive buses and lorries You still have another year to finish your second block of training if you have a licence to drive both buses and lorries professionally. Your deadline is 9 September 2019. If you miss your training deadline You cannot drive professionally until you finish your training. You can be fined up to £1,000 for driving professionally without having Driver CPC. Find out more about what to do if you miss your training deadline. Check how much training you’ve done You can check how much training you’ve done and when you’ll get your next Driver CPC card. You can also use this service to give your employer temporary access to your training record. You can find out more about Driver CPC training on...