Traffic Commissioners Step Up Operator Licensing Enforcement

The Traffic Commissioners for Great Britain have stepped up enforcement efforts against drivers and businesses that fail to comply with the terms of their operator's license.  Recent enforcement actions have seen the Commissioners revoke o licences in cases where directors and drivers have not met the necessary standards required and expected of licenced goods vehicle operators.

In this article we outline the latest cases to have resulted in a suspension or revocation, and explain how operator's licence holders can comply with the law.

Operator's Licence - Duties and Responsibilities

When applying for an operator's licence, the directors of a business are usually required to sign a declaration of understanding. This sets out the requirements placed upon them on the issue of the licence. In most cases, this document requires operator's licence holders to:

  • observe and comply with laws relating to the driving operation of their vehicles
  • observe and comply with rules relating to drivers' hours
  • maintain proper records
  • comply with load limits for any vehicles or trailers
  • comply with speed limits and other general traffic laws
  • ensure that all vehicles and trailers are kept in good serviceable condition
  • report any defects or symptoms of defects that could prevent a vehicle or trailer from operating safely

The Traffic Commissioners hold ultimate responsibility for the licensing and regulation of goods vehicle operators and frequently take regulatory action against non-compliant operators. Enforcement action often takes the form of a public inquiry, where the Commissioners will judge whether an operator is fit to hold a licence.

Disqualification of Operators - Licence Rules Breach

In a recent case, a director of a firm based in Hartlepool was caught driving a 7.5 tonne goods vehicle without a digital tachograph (as required by law) or a Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC).

A 2020 roadside check of the vehicle also revealed that the firm's operator's licence did not permit the drawing of a trailer. The lorry was in fact pulling a trailer and had no load securing, or rear registration plate. To make matters worse, one of the vehicle's indicators was faulty and it was equipped with tyres that were not suitable for the load being carried.

Following a public inquiry, the Traffic Commissioner found that the director's licence should be revoked indefinitely with immediate effect "owing to manifold and serious shortcomings and illegalities detected by the DVSA".

Implications for Operator's Licence Holders

The strict stance taken by the Traffic Commissioner in this case illustrates the seriousness with which breaches of operator's licensing rules are taken. Businesses, their directors, and individual drivers must take responsibility for compliance with the law - and failing to meet the requisite standards can result in an outright ban.

For help and support with vehicle operator's licence applications, contact our team today.