An operator is only as good as his drivers and given the skills shortage it is even more important to ensure that the drivers you do have are up to scratch. So what are the most common complaints facing operators today.
The recording of the hours that a driver does in a 24 hour period and a weekly period are all the responsibly of that driver. Also, making sure that the driver takes the correct breaks and does not drive over the maximum hours, remains the responsibility of the driver. However, scheduling the driver’s journeys to allow for the necessary daily and weekly breaks and rests should help to avoid problems. If you are analysing the data from the tachographs on a regular basis – at least monthly – discrepancies between the vehicle unit and the drivers card or analogue tachograph’s can be picked up quickly.
Non-compliance with the drivers’ hours regulations is a common area for operators to be called in to see the Traffic Commissioner at Public Inquiry. Ultimately the Traffic Commissioner is concerned with safety on the road and tired drivers are not safe.
The Traffic Commissioner will want evidence that the operator is carrying out the necessary checks on the driver to ensure that they are complying with the regulations and that there are procedures in place to train, discipline and ultimately dismiss those drivers who are continually offending. It is not enough to download the tachograph data and store it; it has to be analysed and reviewed as well.
Your driver will also need to inform you of any other work they do when they are not working for you because that may affect their driving hours and permitted working hours under the Working Time Directive.
Are your drivers doing their daily walk round checks? Do they know what they are looking for? How are they recording the defects? What happens once a defect is discovered? What happens once the defect is rectified? How do you know that your drivers are all doing this essential job properly?
Missing a serious fault on a vehicle can result in tragedy and could lead to the loss of an operators licence let alone any criminal penalties. The Traffic Commissioner will want to see procedures in place and evidence that all the drivers are following those procedures and that records are kept for 15 months.
Qualifications and History
Your driver should have a vocational licence and should have a drivers’ Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC). Which is evidenced by a driver qualification card or other evidence if the driver does not hold a valid UK licence(i.e. an overseas licence). Did you know that the operator needs to keep records of these and needs to inform the Traffic Commissioner’s Office if there are any changes, such as any convictions or fixed penalty notices issued to the driver. Such changes must be notified within 28 days of coming to your attention.
It is important that your drivers understand how important they are to your business and to get them on board in relation to the rules and regulations. It may be the operator that gets called to a Public Inquiry but if that operator has their operators licence revoked that is the end of the business and the drivers are out of work. Tool box talks, scheduled training and mentoring are all effective ways for making sure that your drivers understand why the rules and regulations are there, what they need to do to comply with them and the consequences of non-compliance.
If you need assistance at a Public Inquiry or advice in relation to making or amending an application to the Traffic Commissioner’s Office then please contact Philip Brown at AMD Solicitors.