TCs call on fleet operators to prioritise the management of compliance

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The Traffic Commissioners for Great Britain are calling on truck, bus and coach operators to prioritise their approach to compliance – and make sure that they are getting the basics right.

In their latest annual report to the Secretary of State for Transport, the industry regulators explore the safety and licensing issues which frequently come before them at public inquiry. Those operators consistently fail to:

  • Download driver cards and vehicle unit data and compare them
  • Use up to date safety inspection paperwork
  • Notify material changes
  • Demonstrate effective brake testing
  • Carry out regular driver licence checks

Operators are reminded about the ‘disciplined duty’ to make sure everything is in order, as well as the importance of learning lessons from cases where other licence holders fail to carry out routine checks. Compliant operators are reminded that they must remain vigilant.

The issue of transport managers who do not carry out their work properly – and those who simply act as a name on the licence – remains a real concern for the regulators.

The commissioners also reinforce the critical nature of their role as gatekeepers to the commercial vehicle industries. The introduction of the Vehicle Operator Licensing computer system is welcomed by all commissioners as it delivers improved services and quicker application processing.

The regulators reassure compliant operators that their scrutiny of those who seek to ignore licensing standards, threaten fair competition and hide their true identities will remain as robust in the digital age.

Operators who are seriously or serially non-compliant will be identified and brought to public inquiry quickly. Those who should not qualify for a licence or try to get back in after being removed from the industry will also be identified. Improved service standards and quicker decisions on applications will only be available to those licence holders who can demonstrate compliance, they say.

The regulators encourage all operators to go digital and manage their licences online, explaining that here are significant benefits in using the system, including being able to access and update key licence information and submit documents electronically.

As part of their commitment to deliver a modern, effective operator licensing regime, the commissioners are also publishing application processing timesfor the first time.

Between January and September 2017, the average processing time for goods vehicle operator licence applications (without a public inquiry) was 35.65 days. For public service vehicle operator licence applications (without a public inquiry), the average processing time was 45.19 days.

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