Revised statutory vehicle operator licensing documents – which were released by the Senior Traffic Commissioner for Great Britain’s office with a lack of fanfare in the run-up to Christmas – will make it easier for traffic commissioners (TCs) to clamp down on those operators and drivers who fail to comply with the myriad requirements of the ‘O’ Licence.
At the same time, the documents are expected to deliver what the Senior Traffic Commissioner, Beverley Bell, describes as “a more efficient and effective licensing regime that helps responsible operators.”
In all, the updated documentation runs to some 15 individual volumes of Guidance devoted to clarifying the expectations of Traffic Commissioners when it comes to the conduct of both vehicle operators and drivers.
For example, a clear description of the transport manager’s role – outlining what transport managers are expected to do to ensure they stay on the right side of the law – is included.
This is the first time that the transport manager’s responsibilities within his or her organization have been specifically defined and could, in theory, open the door to more prosecutions of employees who are shown to not have been discharging their duties in a manner compliant with the guidance laid down in the documentation.
Driver conduct requirements are also updated and, significantly, the documentation highlights the fact that drivers can no longer use the excuse that they had been following their employer’s instructions in an attempt to avoid their personal responsibilities.
Altogether, Beverley Bell’s team published 15 statutory documents, offering guidance on areas as diverse as what constitutes a different legal entity from the perspective of ‘O’ licensing and financial record keeping; only two do not relate to freight operations.
While the TCs’ primary aim in revising the documentation is to target those firms and drivers who put road safety at risk, all operators are advised to familiarise themselves with the amendments in order to understand how the changes may impact on their business procedures.
Operators wishing to read an independent and concise overview of all of the relevant changes can be viewed at: http://www.labyrinthsolutions.co.uk/index.php/about-us/news
Labyrinth have also updated their O Licence compliance software, SilkThread ®, to reflect these changes; more details are available at www.silkthread.co.uk.