Operator Licence – system for Quality Assurance

“A Vehicle Examiner from VOSA recently advised that I need to implement “quality assurance measures” with regard to my Operator Licence. What does this mean?

Supervision and Monitoring are the “hot topics” in operator licensing at the moment. It is no good having systems to deal with maintenance of the vehicles and management of the drivers unless the systems actually work. The way to ensure results is to supervise those who implement the systems. For example, who checks the drivers are actually doing their daily vehicle checks. Who checks that the outside vehicle maintainer is actually completing all areas of the service and completing the service sheets correctly? Who checks that the forward planning system is actually working. Who checks that driver’s hour’s disciplinary systems are being followed through?

Supervise those who are playing key roles within the vehicle operation. Make sure your vehicle maintainers know you are keeping a close eye on them. Use an outside bureau to check driver’s hour’s compliance, or use them at intervals in addition to your own in house analysation. Hire in a specialist in operator licensing to carry out periodic audits of your paperwork and systems, this will give you a good idea of how your transport manager is performing. Appoint a foreman to be present when the drivers are doing their daily checks.

As a holder of an operator licence you may be asked to show that you have “quality assurance measures in place. Failure to monitor and supervise key systems relating to your commercial fleet is one of the main causes of Operators being called to disciplinary public inquiries.

Practical advice on managing your Operator Licence is provided by Elizabeth Caple, Transport Law Solicitor. elizabeth.caple@blueyonder.co.uk
0117 9075699 0781 441 4374



6 penalty points for fail to identify driver penalty increase in force from today 24.9.07. by Tim Ridyard. Barker Gotelee Solicitors

Road Safety Act 2006 -New penalties

The next batch of changes brought about by the Road Safety Act 2006 will commence on 24 September 2007. For drivers and operators these mainly relate to offences and their penalties. The most important changes are as follows:

Driver Identity Information – the penalty for failing to provide information about the identity of a driver rises from 3 to 6 penalty points – it is intended to remove the incentive to fail to notify driver information - the penalty is severe and increases the danger of a totting disqualification. Here there is less protection for those within limited companies because those within companies can be summoned personally where they connive to fail to provide driver details. This is a very robust penalty for failing to give driver information against individuals and businesses.

Dangerous Vehicle Condition – mandatory minimum 6 month disqualification for second dangerous condition offence within 3 years. This is very important as sole traders/partnership operators' own driving licences may be endorsed where their drivers use a vehicle in a dangerous condition - and hence they are at risk of disqualification. This emphasises the advantage of operating as a limited company which does not have a driving licence and hence gives protection to the 'owner's' personal licence. Arguably far too many operators run as sole traders or partnerships when they may be better protected as a limited company.

Careless Driving – The penalty for careless driving increases from £2,500 to £5,000 (the penalty points in the range 3-9 or discretionary disqualification does not change). New definition of carelessness: guilty if a driver drives in a way which falls below what would be expected of a competent and careful driver. In deciding this the Court must have regard not only to the circumstances of which he could be expected to be aware but also to any circumstances shown to have been within the knowledge of the accused. To be convicted of the separate offence of inconsiderate driving a conviction can only follow if third parties are actually inconvenienced.

There are then miscellaneous other new provisions relating to furious driving, failure to give permission for blood samples to be taken and numerous other misc. matters.

Tim Ridyard is a partner, Higher Rights advocate and road transport solicitor at Ipswich based Barker Gotelee Solicitors: 01473 611211 and tim.ridyard@barkergotelee.co.uk