The Senior Traffic Commissioner Guidance and Directions setting out how Traffic Commissioners exercise their roles have been revised and they take effect from the start of 2016. They cover a very wide range of areas in great detail. We have selected just a few points that will be of most immediate practical help and relevance to operators:
There is now set out in Statutory Document 3 a non-exhaustive list of types of activity that Traffic Commissioners might expect of a nominated transport manager. These cover general responsibilities, the administration, management and operation of drivers and also the administration and management of vehicles. Operators would be well advised to consult this reference material.
In addition, there are revised starting points for transport manager hours/vehicle ratios. This is the time a transport manager will dedicate to transport management. For example, the suggested starting point for a 3-5 vehicle fleet is reduced from 15 hours to 4-8 hours and the 11-14 vehicle fleet reduction is from 25 hours to 12-20 hours. These are not rigid figures and when applying to appoint a transport manager an operator is free to explain to the Traffic Commissioner how transport management will be achieved if the hours set out are not being proposed.
Following reassessment of the value of the Euro against the Pound in October 2015, new financial standing requirements for a Standard licence come into force from 1 January 2016. These are:
- first vehicle - £6,650 (reduced from £7,000)
- additional vehicles - £3,700 (reduced from £3,900)
- first vehicle - £3,100 (no change)
- additional vehicles - £1,700 (no change)
Statutory Document 2 also provides more guidance about alternative sources of finance such as credit agreements, in what can be quite an involved area of operator licensing that continues to trip up operators.
Vocational driver conduct:
Traffic Commissioners are concerned that there should be far greater driver awareness that their vocational licences can be suspended or revoked at driver conduct hearings following poor conduct, e.g. for mobile phone misuse. Therefore, as well providing more detailed information about such hearings, Statutory Document 6 provides over 30 case studies that could assist in driver training to help drivers understand the conduct hearing regime and possible outcomes that may significantly affect them.
For further help or advice regarding any of the above, please contact a member of our Road Transport team.