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Maintenance Systems and Procedures & Keeping your Vehicles Safe

In order to keep away from the Traffic Commissioners you will need to be able to demonstrate the have systems and procedures in place to ensure you are complying with the obligations you signed up to when you applied for your licence.

Of course it will depend on the size of your fleet, the type of vehicles you are operating, and the nature of the work they are undertaking as to what will constitute an effective system. What you should be aware of, is that the Traffic Commissioner will expect you to adhere to whatever you put on the application form. If you wish to make any changes such as an increase in your inspection intervals, you must seek permission from the Traffic Commissioner before effecting those changes.

If you have a transport manager, the Traffic Commissioner will expect you to be able to demonstrate that they are exercising continuous and effective management of the transport undertaking. In particular, this means keeping an eye on whether vehicles are attracting prohibitions which should have been picked up by drivers on a daily walk around check, whether vehicles are being presented to annual test with defects, and whether there are any particular patterns to any defects which are occurring.

A transport manager is expected to be pro-active and to recognise failings and rectify them promptly. If issues are found, they will have to consider whether further training of the drivers or the mechanics is appropriate, or whether it is a case of taking disciplinary action. If the maintenance is not carried out in-house, they should consider whether to move the maintenance elsewhere.

Failure to keep on top of defects and nip them in the bud is a common problem which all too frequently finds operators and transport managers called to public inquiry before the Traffic Commissioners.

If you are concerned about the suitability of your systems, and would like some advice, please do not hesitate to contact us.

What constitutes an effective system?

Of course it will depend on the size of your fleet, the type of vehicles you are operating, and the nature of the work they are undertaking as to what will constitute an effective system. What you should be aware of, is that the Traffic Commissioner will expect you to adhere to whatever you put on the application form. If you wish to make any changes such as an increase in your inspection intervals, you must seek permission from the Traffic Commissioner before effecting those changes.

What is expected of a transport manager?

If you have a Standard National or Standard International Licence, then you should have a transport manager. As the holder of a licence, you cannot just rely on your transport manager: You must ensure they are doing their job correctly.

The Traffic Commissioner will expect transport managers to be able to demonstrate that they are exercising continuous and effective management of the transport undertaking. In particular, this means keeping an eye on whether vehicles are attracting prohibitions which should have been picked up by drivers on a daily walk around check, whether vehicles are being presented to annual test with defects, and whether there are any particular patterns to any defects which are occurring.

A transport manager is expected to be pro-active and to recognise failings and rectify them promptly. If issues are found, they will have to consider whether further training of the drivers or the mechanics is appropriate, or whether it is a case of taking disciplinary action. If the maintenance is not carried out in-house, they should consider whether to move the maintenance elsewhere.

What if I don’t have a transport manager?

If you have a Restricted Licence, you won’t have a nominated transport manager. That doesn’t stop you choosing to employ someone with a CPC qualification, but they won’t be nominated on your licence.

The law refers to an operator’s suitability to hold a Licence as Repute (in the case of Standard Licence Holders) and Fitness (for Restricted Operators). Whilst at times a little more leeway may be given to a Restricted Operator, they do in effect have to comply with the same standards as a Standard Licence Holder. Therefore, the fact that an operator doesn’t employ a transport manager won’t excuse him/her from being compliant.

How do I know the systems I have in place are good enough?

One way to check is by having regular audits, either by a trade association or an independent provider. Be aware that there is a vast range of different standards of providers out there, a few of whom are not particularly well regarded by the Traffic Commissioners. Therefore, ensure you pick someone reliable.

 

For free advice, speak to a solicitor on our local rate number 0330 1330 081 or, if you prefer, fill out our Contact Form and we'll call you back: usually the same day and often within the hour. You can also email us here.