Too often I see in my role the consequences of companies not keeping an eye on the detail of their transport operations which, whilst seemingly innocuous, can have serious repercussions down the line. And simply having ‘the paperwork’ still may not be enough to satisfy the DVSA.
No surprise then that an update last week from the Office of the Traffic Commissioner on this very subject caught my eye.
“It was a difficult time, potentially devastating. But now we have greater confidence and knowledge.”
For Steve and Carol who run a small Oxfordshire haulage business, it was daunting enough just to have the DVSA turn up and do an inspection. But when that visit generated a report to the Traffic Commissioner, and subsequent Public Inquiry appearance, livelihoods were suddenly on the line.
Hindsight’s a powerful thing. It’s an old cliché but still holds true, and one that I see time and time again in my work with transport operators.
For example, I recently spent a day with a client. They’re a lovely couple who are unfortunately now facing the possibility of losing their Operator's Licence, and with it their business and livelihood. “If only we had come to you a year ago,” they told me. “We didn’t know there were people like you out there.”
Driver management is a headache for many Transport Managers and operators.
And this is why.
On the one hand, the Traffic Commissioner requires them to actively manage drivers to ensure they comply with the regulations (driver hours, tachographs and working time) and, if they don’t, discipline and possibly dismiss them.
The conviction and imprisonment of Matthew Gordon, the owner of the business in the Bath lorry trial was just the late confirmation that directors are personally legally responsible for the Operators Licence and the safe operation of the vehicles in a similar way the breach of Health & Safety regulations has been for many years.