TCs annual report 2014-15: in depth look at Scotland

Every day this week, the Transport Law Blog will bring you an in depth look at the trends in each traffic area, as detailed in the Traffic Commissioners' Annual Reports 2014-15.

The Commonwealth Games in Glasgow were a big challenge for operators north of the border, according to Scotland’s traffic commissioner (TC) Joan Aitken, who helped spread the word amongst operators about the disruption the event would have on their businesses and urged them to plan ahead.

Aitken also worked with the DVSA to ensure that only roadworthy and licenced vehicles and operators would be servicing the Games.

Over 90% of the new O-licences applied for were granted by the TC. However, she warned that she is continuing to challenge some transport manager nominations, and said DVSA examiners are successful in “flushing out cases where the transport manager is an absentee.”

She also highlighted the “sad fact” that there are some consultants and agencies that continue to encourage and collude in non-compliance.

Despite efforts to reduce the number of full public inquiry hearings the TCs conduct, replacing them with less formal preliminary hearings and saving full PIs for the operators that pose the greatest risk, TC Aitken still believes in the value of a PI as a regulatory tool.

Scotland has also seen an increase in the number of professional drivers committing mobile phone offences, which the TC said prompts the authorities to look at the company operating the vehicle and whether any pressure was placed on the driver to make or receive calls behind the wheel.

“It has been noticeable this year how many professional drivers called to a driver conduct hearing know that the suspension of their entitlement is the likely outcome, in short the word is out within the driver community that their licences are at risk,” she said.  “I am hoping that we are now seeing a trend away from professional drivers taking and making calls at the wheel.”


Scotland traffic area in numbers


O-licences in issue and goods vehicles specified:
Restricted: 3,116 O-licences in issue.  7,216 vehicles specified.
Standard National: 2,713 O-licences in issue. 16,681 vehicles specified.
Standard International:  521 O-licences in issue. 4,964 vehicles specified.
Total number of specified vehicles: 28,861.
Total number of O-licences in issue: 6,350.

O-licence applications:
New O-licences issued in full: 271.
New O-licences applied for: 293.

Public inquiries:
PIs completed: 55.
Licence revocations: 7.
Licence suspensions: 5.
Curtailment or conditions opposed: 25.
Formal warning: 19.
Operator disqualification: 3.
Transport manager disqualification: 2.
No action taken: 5.
 

TCs' annual report 2014-15: in depth look at the West

Every day this week, the Transport Law Blog will bring you an in depth look at the trends in each traffic area, as detailed in the Traffic Commissioners' Annual Reports 2014-15.


The industry “could do better” when applying for an O-licence, according to West of England traffic commissioner Sarah Bell.

In her annual report, Bell said 80% of applications received were incomplete or did not meet the TCs’ criteria. Of the new applications processed in 2014-15, some 823 applications, 88% were incomplete or inaccurate. This results in applications being handled multiple times by Office of the Traffic Commissioner staff, which in turn causes delays for all applicants.

“The forms have been revamped and the guidance enhanced. It is time for industry to act,” added Bell.

Like East of England TC Richard Turfitt, Bell also believes there is still a lack of transparency in regards to how O-licence fees are used.

“Some progress has been made but TCs are still prevented from providing assurance to licence fee payers about the expenditure of their fees,” she said.

Bell has been working with North East TC Kevin Rooney and the DVSA to improve communication between the TCs and the agency. It is hoped this will allow more targeted enforcement to take place and those who pose the most serious risk to be called to a public inquiry sooner.


West of England traffic area in numbers

O-licences in issue and goods vehicles specified:
Restricted: 5,811 O-licences in issue.  13,589 vehicles specified.
Standard National: 3,902 O-licences in issue. 26,154 vehicles specified.
Standard International:  1,172 O-licences in issue. 9,981 vehicles specified.
Total number of specified vehicles: 49,724.
Total number of O-licences in issue: 10,885.

O-licence applications:
New O-licences issued in full: 740.
New O-licences applied for: 823.

Public inquiries:
PIs completed: 82.
Licence revocations: 27.
Licence suspensions: 8.
Curtailment or conditions opposed: 17.
Formal warning: 18.
Operator disqualification: 5.
Transport manager disqualification: 6.
No action taken: 13.