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Office of the Traffic Commissioner: A tale of two skip operators

A tale of two skip operators Firms face completely different futures following public inquiries Every operator has their own way of doing things – even those working in the same industry. When it comes to compliance, while there might be different approaches, the basic requirements are the same. Whether you’re operating two vehicles or 200. Those who break the rules often find themselves at a public inquiry. And there’s only one approach that works with traffic commissioners – showing them things have improved. Changing the outcome Last month, the West Midlands Traffic Commissioner, Nick Denton, came across two skip operators. They’d both been reported by DVSA for multiple compliance issues. But their approaches to fixing these problems were very different. The first firm had applied for more vehicles – to go from 3 to 10. During a public inquiry, the business showed Mr Denton what they’d done to rectify the issues. They also provided evidence of improved compliance. The Commissioner was satisfied to let the operator have an extra two vehicles on its licence. He’ll decide whether to approve the other five in July, if the firm’s MOT pass rate gets better. Obvious warning signs The other operator didn’t take action following the DVSA visit. In fact, more evidence of non-compliance was picked up during the public inquiry. This included: • a further MOT failure • a gap of more than seven months between PMIs for a vehicle • defects reoccurring at PMIs • questions over the authenticity of some driver defect reports Mr Denton said the warning signs for the company to take urgent action were “screamingly obvious”....

Office of the Traffic Commissioner: Is your vehicle information accurate?

Is your vehicle information accurate? A recent check showed a number of operators entered vehicle information incorrectly onto VOL Keeping your O licence record up to date has never been easier – or more accessible. Whether you only make a few changes a year or you’re doing lots of transactions every month, our digital service gives you the flexibility to manage your own licence record. It’s really important to make sure everything’s up to date – for example your maintenance contractor. But it’s also vital to check the information you provide is accurate. Recently, we did some checks and found that a number of operators didn’t enter the correct vehicle registration marks (VRM) onto their licence. Checks and balances Making sure the right VRMs are listed on your licence is critical for you as an operator. It’s confirmation the vehicles you’re operating are authorised under the licence. It’s also important for roadside checks. If your vehicle is incorrectly registered it could be stopped, because DVSA won’t be able identify it on their records as being authorised on a licence. For HGV operators, where the VRM is displayed on the disc, checks should be made when you get the disc through the post. If it’s wrong, register the right vehicle on your licence and return the incorrect disc to us immediately. For PSV operators, if you do supply us with VRMs, please double check that the correct registration marks are entered. You can login and check your licence information is up to date and accurate...

Office of the Traffic Commissioner: Transport manager disqualified after undermining the operator licensing system

Transport manager disqualified after undermining the operator licensing system Traffic Commissioner said the loss of repute was unavoidable with significant issues of trust raised Trust and honesty are at the foundation of the operator licensing regime. A recent public inquiry saw that trust break down beyond repair. A transport manager learned the hard way recently that responsibilities of that role should never be abused. Both the company holding the licence and the transport manager admitted the declaration they’d made – that a contract between them was in place – was indeed a false one. The licence had been running without a transport manager for 15 months. Although both parties held their hands up to what they’d done, Traffic Commissioner for the North West of England, Simon Evans, found the events went against the protection of fair competition in the industry. He said the arrangement had been a charade from the beginning. After the TM admitted “he knew deep down what he was doing was wrong”, Mr Evans concluded regulatory action was an unavoidable consequence of those actions. The operator’s licence was also...

DVSA Commercial vehicle testing: the year ahead

________________________________________ Commercial vehicle testing: the year ahead In his latest update, Gordon Thomson gives you the latest information on heavy vehicle testing. This includes: • how we’ll provide digital support to vehicle testing staff by giving them a mobile device and a new application • providing ATF managers and commercial vehicle operators with timely online access to test results • giving ATF customers access to an online portal via GOV.UK • providing operators with improved data on their MOT history • reminding operators that the phased introduction of heavy vehicle testing is ending As you know, last year we made some major changes to commercial vehicle testing. We’re very happy with how this went, but we’re not finished improving the service. This year we’ll prepare for a digital transformation programme, end the phased approach to testing previously exempt vehicles and further improve the heavy vehicle inspection manuals. Digitally transforming the test for the future Previously, mentioned we’re currently working on a digital transformation programme for heavy vehicle testing, which aims to: • increase testing standards to deliver maximum road safety value • give vehicle testing staff the tools to do their jobs effectively • make it easier for our customers to do business with us The service will provide digital support to vehicle testing staff, by giving them a mobile device and a new application. This will allow them to capture test results in real time and upload the data instantly. The programme will provide both ATF managers and commercial vehicle operators with timely online access to test results. It will also be easier for ATFs to view and...

New DVLA campaign highlights consequences for drivers who evade vehicle tax

New DVLA campaign highlights consequences for drivers who evade vehicle tax DVLA has launched a new advertising campaign in 11 areas around the country targeting drivers who haven’t taxed their vehicles. The message is clear to motorists – if you don’t tax your vehicle on time, DVLA will take action: tax it or lose it. The 11 areas of the UK have been targeted where vehicle tax evasion is highest (based on the number of enforcement actions that took place in 2018). Area Clamped Fines or Penalties Totals London 27,605 94,550 122,155 Northern Ireland 5,516 67,944 73,460 Birmingham 5,076 50,045 55,121 Manchester 7,573 26,214 33,787 Glasgow 2,666 29,705 32,371 Sheffield 3,987 25,291 29,278 Cardiff 3,021 24,598 27,619 Nottingham 3,507 21,346 24,853 Bristol 3,496 20,412 23,908 Leicester 3,344 19,196 22,540 Coventry 1,257 18,193 19,450 The advertising campaign focuses on the consequences of not taxing your vehicle – from financial penalties to court action to clamping and finally the loss of a car. A giant clamp at the centre of the campaign image reflects the fact that DVLA take enforcement action against untaxed vehicles on streets across the country and it will happen to you if you don’t tax your vehicle on time. DVLA Head of Enforcement Tim Burton said: This campaign has a clear message for anyone who flouts the law in this way – tax it or lose it. It’s never been easier to tax your car, so there really is no excuse. We would rather not have to clamp or remove vehicles, but this campaign highlights the consequences of not taxing a vehicle. Having your vehicle clamped is...

How to report non-compliant operators

How to report non-compliant operators Do you know who to contact if you see a dangerous vehicle or driver? As transport regulators, the traffic commissioners promote safe passenger and goods transport. Although most operators, like you, comply with the rules and take operator licensing very seriously, some aren’t as diligent and don’t keep road safety at the forefront of their minds. Unfortunately, there are bad practices, dangerous vehicles and unsafe operations out there. The commissioners work tirelessly to remove these businesses from the industry and keep our roads safe. They can do this because DVSA examiners investigate rogue operators and report them to the commissioners. If you have information about any non-compliance, such as an overloaded lorry, a bus with dangerously low tyre treads or a vehicle carrying insufficiently secured goods, please report it to DVSA. Email: Call: 0300 123...

Office of the Traffic Commissioner Putting things right: a success story

Putting things right: a success story Operator follows through on promise to take action Each week we bring you stories of operators who’ve failed to change their approach to compliance. It’s as bad when they come before commissioners as it was during the DVSA visit. But there are times when licence holders put things right. They see what went wrong and work to make it better. Last year, Traffic Commissioner Kevin Rooney gave one operator a chance to prove this. The DVSA examiner said he was reassured by the firm’s promise to get on top of the issues. When it came to the public inquiry (held in January), Mr Rooney found the examiner’s faith had been well placed. An audit showed strong systems, with drivers’ hours infringements considerably reduced. The company had also made plans for a member of staff to sit the management CPC exam. A review of maintenance records revealed just one concern, around brake testing. The Traffic Commissioner said this was down to the shoddy practices of the franchised main dealer. Mr Rooney had seen enough from the operator to know they’d tackle the issue. He gave the company a formal warning and got the directors to make a commitment on roller brake testing. They’d shown him their intentions were genuine and that he could trust them to be compliant. These are the decisions traffic commissioners have to make every day. Will the licence holder be compliant in the future? Is the compliance that bad they need to put out of...

Office of the Traffic Commissioner, DVLA: tips to stay safe online

DVLA: tips to stay safe online Advice on how to avoid becoming a target for online fraudsters As an operator of heavy goods or public service vehicles, you’ll already know the importance of security when it comes your vehicles and what you carry in them. However, online security may not be an obvious concern to everyone. With social media being a big part of everyone’s lives nowadays, including professional drivers, the need to be vigilant is more important than ever. Images of personal information like licence and vehicle documents could be invaluable to someone looking to commit fraud. That’s why the DVLA has provided some tips to help motorists stay safe online. They received over 1000 reports of online scams in the last 3 of 2018. 7 tips for motorists to stay safe online With new online scams cropping up all the time, motorists have increasingly become a target for fraudsters. DVLA has revealed their contact centre received 1,275 reports regarding suspected vehicle tax scams during the last 3 months of 2018. In October, November and December last year, DVLA’s contact centre recorded 1,275 individual complaints regarding suspected web, email, text or social media scams. This figure could include multiple reports of the same incident. According to Action Fraud, all forms of cyber fraud cost victims around £34.6 million between April and September last year. Action Fraud is the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime where you should report fraud if you have been scammed, defrauded or experienced cybercrime in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Fraud or cybercrime can be reported to Action Fraud by calling 0300...

EU Exit: road haulage

The government is preparing to allow hauliers and other businesses to continue to transport goods between the UK and the EU, once the UK has left the EU. These include preparations for leaving the EU without a withdrawal agreement. Accordingly, I am today (5 February 2019) laying a draft haulage statutory instrument designed to ensure that UK law continues to operate effectively in this area if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. The government will continue to license UK hauliers to the same high safety, environmental and operating standards as at present, and will require foreign hauliers operating in this country to do the same. The legislation also provides for continued access to the UK market, after exit, for hauliers from the 27 EU member states. Over 80% of haulage between the UK and continental Europe is undertaken by EU hauliers and it is important to ensure that the UK’s supply chains are protected. The UK needs to be sure that foreign products can be imported, and UK products exported as usual. Our approach of offering access at this stage aims both to provide the reassurance needed for international freight flows to continue, and to help ensure reciprocal arrangements for UK hauliers. On its side, the European Commission has proposed legislation that would allow UK hauliers basic rights to conduct operations to, from and through the EU for a limited period of 9 months after exit, if there is no deal. The Commission’s proposal will need to be agreed by the Council and European Parliament and is being considered by both institutions urgently. This proposal is predicated...

How we develop our digital licensing services for industry

How we develop our digital licensing services for industry Find out how we’re working to improve VOL We’re constantly working to improve our digital licensing services. In the latest blog for Moving On, we explain how we build those services and talk about what we’ve been working on recently. Vehicle operator licensing: how we develop our services for industry In another of our guest blogs from the traffic commissioners, we find out about the latest developments for online operator licensing services. Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the countless vehicle changes you make online? Or the variation application you submit digitally to open a new operating centre? Or the updates you make to your licence record through VOL? Our digital team work hard to make sure those online services are always available so your business can keep running smoothly. And because we’re a service on GOV.UK, the team is constantly looking to improve the vehicle operator licensing (VOL) system. We listen To do this we listen to what you need. That’s how we develop new services. Our team visit operators like you and find out how your business runs and what challenges you face when operating commercial vehicles. With this information, we make VOL better and provide more efficient ways to manage your licence. We recently introduced the Verify service to allow transport managers to use digital signatures. 83% of users said they’d be willing to use this service to sign applications. Verify is already in place for new applications and licence continuations. We build services Our developers work out what you need to do as a...