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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...

3 month ban for driver who filmed traffic while driving HGV

Traffic Commissioner takes action following report from driver’s employer Earlier this week we shared footage from Highways England showing a driver who was caught using a hand held mobile phone while driving his HGV. Regrettably that’s not the only case where a professional driver’s taken unacceptable risks while on the road. Last month, Traffic Commissioner Simon Evans revoked a professional driver’s licence after he was recorded filming other traffic on the M60 motorway in Manchester while driving his truck. At one point, the driver was holding his phone out of the window of his cab to film a group of bikers travelling on the motorway. Conduct hearing During a conduct hearing, the driver said he was taking a picture of the motorbikes and that he’d kept more than double the safe distance. Incredibly, he claimed his actions hadn’t been dangerous. But Mr Evans decided his conduct had fallen seriously below the required standards for a professional driver. He took away the driver’s vocational entitlement and disqualified him for three months. He’ll have to reapply for his vocational licence if he wants to drive professionally...

New Free DVSA Service: Replace a lost or damaged MOT certificate

Motorists can now replace a lost, stolen or damaged MOT certificate online for free DVSA has launched a new free service to allow motorists to replace a lost, stolen or damaged MOT certificate. The service can be used to get MOT certificate copies for cars, vans and motorcycles. Copies for lorries, buses and coaches will be available later in 2019. What you need The service can be found here. You’ll need your vehicle’s registration and 11 digit vehicle logbook (VC5) reference number to use it. It is still possible to get a copy MOT certificate from your MOT testing station. But this will carry a charge of up to...

Operator shows total and utter complacency towards licensing regime

Third public inquiry finds construction firm put commercial interests above compliance When traffic commissioners take action against operators at public inquiry, their decisions look to encourage or improve future compliance. In the most serious cases, this involves taking the licence away and preventing future operations. In other situations, the commissioner may take action against the licence and agree a number of measures with the operator to make sure they’ll prioritise compliance going forward. That’s what happened with a construction company in 2018. At their second public inquiry, a Deputy Traffic Commissioner suspended their licence and got them to commit to various undertakings. Broken promises Disappointingly, they broke those promises. And so the business found itself back at public inquiry – for a third time. The Deputy Commissioner had specifically warned them in 2018 about the consequences. She said the operator needed to demonstrate honesty in actions, not just words. At the latest hearing, the company’s director admitted he got his priorities wrong. Huge dissapointment The Deputy Commissioner said it was staggering that the company put commercial interests over compliance given its previous record. While the state of the operation had improved, it was still significantly short of being satisfactory. Revoking the licence, the Deputy Commissioner expressed her huge disappointment at the situation. Trust, she added, is the cornerstone of the operator licence regime....

Complete ignorance of rules leads to revocation and disqualification

Operator’s response to DVSA visit was “feeble in the extreme” A wholesaler who sent vehicles for MOT to find out what defects they had is facing a year’s disqualification from operating. Traffic Commissioner Nick Denton said the firm’s director failed to take any interest in vehicle and driver compliance throughout the time his company held the licence. In fact, he wasn’t even aware of the very high annual test history failure rate for his vehicles. Unsafe vehicles The business ran an unsafe vehicle for several years which was driven by an employee who regularly failed to take the required weekly rest. DVSA found lots of issues during its investigation, including out of date inspection sheets, a lack of brake testing, two prohibition clearance failures (for brake defects), incomplete driver defect reporting and the use of a vehicle with an obviously faulty tachograph. No improvement The company failed to show it had made any improvements at a public inquiry before Mr Denton. He said the director hadn’t made the slightest effort to understand what was involved in running a HGV. He revoked the operator’s licence and disqualified the company and its director for 12...

DVSA enforcement shockers: May 2019

Posted by: Gareth Prismick, Posted on: 2 May 2019 – Categories: Enforcement As a DVSA enforcement officer, I’ve inspected a lot of vehicles and found a lot of defects. Some of them boggle the mind and defy imagination (and reason, and logic). Here’s a selection of the things my colleagues and I have come across recently. They’re real eye openers! Bricking it This poorly maintained trailer had missing number plate, broken lamps and no-load security amongst some of the defects noted. Arguably worst of all was the lack of load security. There’s nothing but gravity and friction holding these bricks in place. A bump, a sharp turn or some sudden braking could have seen them scattered across the road. The possible consequences of that happening don’t bear thinking about. The driver might have found our useful load security guide some pretty interesting reading. It could have saved him a fixed penalty! Tyre pattern baldness With the F1 season under way, this chap was driving around on a tyre that mimicked a racing slick! Walkaround checks are a vital part of a robust maintenance regime! If this driver had done one, he probably would have noticed his tyres were bald, reducing their grip on the road. This prohibition and endorsable fixed penalty could have been avoided had the driver carried out an adequate check of the vehicle prior to driving it on a public road. This corrosion… This is a picture of a corroded rear suspension mounting on a van by one of our vehicle examiners. The leaf spring shackle was close to detachment! If the spring had...

Has your heavy vehicle been tested yet?

Over the last few months, we’ve been explaining that certain vehicles with heavy goods chassis will need to have had an annual test by 20 May 2019 to remain legal on Britain’s roads. This is because some heavy goods vehicles lost their test exemption in May 2018 and came into the scope of test. If you’ve not already done so, you must arrange to have an annual test carried out on your vehicles. They need to pass the test before the next vehicle tax renewal is due. Vehicles now needing a test certificate include: mobile cranes breakdown vehicles (not breakdown vans) tower wagons some mobile engineering plants some trailers designed for the production of asphalt road construction vehicles (not road rollers) electrically propelled motor vehicles first registered since 1 March 2015 tractor units pulling exempt trailers certain motor tractors and heavy and light locomotives exempted under sections 185 and 186 (3) of the Road Traffic Act 1988, where these are based on an HGV chassis They will then need a test every year after their first...

Annual testing: how do you measure up?

Annual vehicle tests are a key part of your maintenance regime. So it’s important to pay attention to your test results. Regular monitoring of all available information helps you check the effectiveness of your systems and keep your vehicles roadworthy. We’ve had a look at DVSA’s latest statistics to see what they tell us about annual testing. Initial failure rates Initial failure rates all fell in 2017/18. HGVs were down to 15.50%. Trailers dropped to 11.50%. And PSVs reduced to 12.90%. View the figures here Reasons for failure Taking out headlamp aim and lamps, braking items once again dominated the reasons for failure. Brake system components, service brake performance and parking brake performance were three of the top five issues for both HGVs and trailers. For PSVs, brake system components joined body (interior), doors and emergency exits, seat belts and suspension in the top five. View the figures for HGVs, trailers and PSVs Failure rates by vehicle age There were some reductions to the initial failure rates by age of vehicle in 2017/18. The most notable came for 9 and 11 year old HGVs, as well as PSVs up to 1, 7, 9 and 10 years old (the latter falling 4.20%). There were increases in the failure rates for 4, 7 and 8 year old HGVs and 3, 6, 8 and 11 year old PSVs. The initial failure rates for trailers saw no reductions, with increases for 4, 6 and 7 year old trailers. View the figures here Failure rate by fleet size Finally, the same vehicle groups occupied the top spots for initial failure rate. HGV operators running one vehicle...

Operator suspended until inspections and roller brake testing confirmed

Operator suspended until inspections and roller brake testing confirmed Traffic Commissioner: “my primary concern is road safety” Most operators, like you, take the promises listed on your operator’s licence very seriously. A few underestimate the importance of these commitments and find themselves appearing before their traffic commissioner. Take this recent case involving a bed manufacturer. The company was called to a public inquiry because it didn’t provide an audit to the Traffic Commissioner. The audit was agreed as part of a previous public inquiry, which looked into the operator’s application for the licence. So to get the licence, they’d made an extra promise to have an independent check of their maintenance and drivers’ hours compliance. But they didn’t keep their word. That wasn’t the only issue. The Traffic Commissioner, Tim Blackmore, also found: vehicles had picked up prohibitions and fixed penalties routine safety inspections had been stretched there was no effective driver defect reporting system in place there wasn’t any evidence of regular roller brake testing The North East regulator told the company he was suspending its licence until they provided evidence of completed safety inspections with roller brake testing. He also reduced the firm’s fleet from three to two vehicles saying the business needed a period of time to “fully reset” the maintenance...