Operators Licence Revoked – Unsafe Loading Practices

Reporting accidents is extremely important in the Transport Industry.

A car crusher / scrap car company recently had its O licence for nine trucks and nine trailers revoked, by the Scottish Traffic Commissioner. (STC)  The company directors were disqualified for five years.

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The STC’s decision follows an incident when boxes of acid-filled batteries were shed from one of its trucks on the A96. The scrap car business, had been in trouble with the STC before as it was reported that police had previously stopped one of its timber lorries on the A9 in 2009. There was also a previous warning to directors about maintenance issues in 2007.

» Information about Accident Reports Forms and Kits for Transport Operators

Important Highways Agency Reminder: Weight limit at Boston Manor, M4

A 7.5 tonne weight restriction remains in place on the M4 between Junctions 1 and 3 in both directions as a result of ongoing repair work at the Boston Manor Viaduct.

It is very important that drivers of vehicles of 7.5 tonnes or more comply with this restriction.

If you operate vehicles weighing 7.5 tonnes or more and use the M4 between junctions 1 and 3, please ensure your drivers follow the clearly signed diversion route using the dual carriageways of the A312 and A4. This applies to both eastbound and westbound traffic.

VOSA is working closely with the Met Police and the Highways Agency to identify and take action against road users who do not comply. This action includes the issuing of fixed penalties for vehicles not complying with the weight restriction and reporting repeat offenders to the Traffic Commissioner.

Operator Licencing – Small Trailer Exemption

Small TrailerOn 4 December 2011, the operator licensing exemption for small trailers with an unladen weight not exceeding 1020kgs for hire or reward operations was removed.

If you operate a goods vehicle and tow a trailer for hire or reward, where the maximum train weight exceeds 3.5 tonnes, you are likely to be within scope of goods vehicle operator licensing and should seek further advice from VOSA. Some dual purpose vehicles and any trailers drawn by them are still exempt but again, if you are unsure whether or not this means you, you should seek further advice from VOSA.

Hire or reward

In this context, hire or reward operations are those which primarily carry other peoples’ goods. This would bring into scope transport and general haulage companies, courier companies, parcel delivery companies etc.

Still exempt?

An operation may be classified as hire or reward by virtue of the fact that other peoples’ goods are being transported. However, if delivery of those goods are not the primary activity, then the operation is still exempt.

So landscape gardeners, for example – who transport plants that are not the property of the landscape gardening business – are still exempt because their primary activity is landscape gardening, not transport.

Companies new to operator licensing

This change to the legislation will bring in to scope many companies that do not currently need an operator licence.

Some operators may therefore be unaware of the changes being introduced. If however, it is apparent that an operator has been advised of the changes and has not subsequently made an application for a licence, enforcement action will be taken.

If you’re not sure if you’re exempt from O-licensing requirements, email
enquiries@vosa.gov.uk for further advice.

Driver CPC – the Traffic Commission’s View

Driver CPC requires all professional bus, coach and lorry drivers to complete a minimum of 35 hours periodic training every five years for as long as they wish to continue to drive professionally.

In a recent article in the transport press, the senior Traffic Commissioner (TC) Beverly Bell stated that employers as well as employees, will find themselves before the TC , if drivers are not compliant with the CPC by Sept 2014 (2013 for passenger vehicle drivers). Bell went on to say “driver training is essentially about investing in your staff”.

Mailshot: The TC expects that operators should be able to show the steps they have taken relating to driver licencing and DCPC qualification. In conjunction with VOSA, there will be a mailshot to an estimated 80,000 operators reminding them of their responsibilities, with a second mailshot in 2014, and dependent upon your action or inaction, you may be called before the TC for an explanation.

Fines: Current levels of fines for failing to comply have been set at up to £1000, if a driver is driving professionally without a DQC (Post Sept 2014), this applies to both operator and driver alike.

Qualification: Some would argue that the DCPC is a driver qualification and is therefore the responsibility of the driver to ensure they hold the DQC qualification. But with the TC’s and VOSA out to ensure that all vocational drivers are qualified, can operators afford not to comply?

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