In The Courtroom (Compliance)
Few Operators enjoy having their vehicle stopped at the roadside. The Head of the DVSA Enforcement Transition team recently stated that a single roadside stop could cost an Operator £4,000 even if NO faults were found with the driver or vehicle. Even less Operators enjoy a visit from their friendly local DVSA Examiners. And then there is the invitation to meet the Traffic Commissioner. The whole experience is not pleasant for any Operator, and getting advice at an early stage can often prevent minor issues becoming a crisis.
Traffic Commissioners have guidelines which they take into account when dealing with an Operator. Did the Operator know there was a problem and was dealing with it before the DVSA became involved ? If the company didn’t know there was a problem and since the DVSA became involved, has the company taken corrective action?
Is the Operator sitting before me promising to make changes in the future? Or is the Operator sitting before me asking what should be done? The important factor to Traffic Commissioners is activity – doing something. Chequered Flag know of one Operator who did nothing, believing he could talk his way out of the problem. His 14 vehicle licence was revoked and he was banned from being a director for two years. An application by his wife for a licence was refused. He had done nothing. He now has nothing.
Many Operators are also mistaken by approaching a local solicitor for advice. If a solicitor is required, then one with a background in transport matters is essential. There are circumstances where this is exactly the right decision. Equally, this can be entirely the wrong decision. Solicitors can help with the law, but if the Operator’s real problem is with the management of the vehicles and drivers, non-transport solicitors will lack the practical skills to truly help the Operator in Court and thereafter.
Chequered Flag have international level CPC holders for Road Freight and one international level CPC holder for Passenger Operations working within the company. All have practical experience in operations. We have a wealth of experience in supporting Operators with practical advice and representation in front of Traffic Commissioners. Our senior advisor is also accepted by the Traffic Commissioners for the East of England and South Eastern Traffic Areas as being competent to provide Operator Licence audits to the Traffic Area Offices.
In recent cases we have obtained an Operator Licence for an individual who had inadvertently run vehicles for four years without a valid licence and turned one company around from a possible revocation to one which is now regarded as Green on the OCRS system. Neither of these companies required a solicitor. They needed practical advice to resolve their problems.
As well as the above, Chequered Flag run Operator Licence Awareness Training (OLAT) and approved Transport Manager Refresher (TMR) courses in our classrooms in conjunction with the Institute of Transport Administration.
Compliance is the single biggest threat to transport companies at the present time. Failure to comply with pre-set standards can not only prevent companies from winning or retaining work, it can lead to disciplinary action to their Operator Licence (see In the Courtroom).
Although the change to digital tachographs continues with many companies now relying on digital data, there are still a vast number of companies who do not realise their obligations to analyse data outputs and take appropriate action when infringements occur. Chequered Flag work closely with Rocksand Computers who have developed one of the best Vehicle Management and Tachograph Analysis software programs in the market, PitStop.
And we do not ignore those who remain with the old tachograph chart. We still carry out chart analysis for those who need it.
Do you need a Policy or a Procedure? Chequered Flag have dozens of transport related framework policies and procedures for all types of requirements that can easily be adapted to suit your situation.