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

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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.

Traffic commissioner (TC) for Wales and West Midlands, Nick Jones, said the interests of Welsh operators and the safety of the Welsh public has “not been given the primacy it deserves” as a result of the lack of a separate TC for the region. The country is treated as if it were part of the West Midlands traffic area, which Jones said is an “ongoing concern which will lead to interesting challenges”.

“The public in Wales and the industries who I am supposed to regulate deserve both a traffic commissioner and resources which are no less than that provided in England. Currently Wales continues with a second rate service with fees subsidising English areas,” he said.

Jones said he was encouraged by attempts to address staffing issues at DVSA’s south Wales premises, and was interested to see the level of work that would be referred to him as a result.

“Currently I have concerns that the many fine hard working family businesses in Wales suffer as a result of the lack of a level playing field, as identified in this report and elsewhere,” he added.

Wales remained the smallest traffic area in terms of O-licences in issue and vehicle parc in 2014-15. However it received more new applications, and conducted more public inquiries, than Scotland- the second smallest traffic area.

 

Wales traffic area in numbers

O-licences in issue and goods vehicles specified:
Restricted: 2,964 O-licences in issue.  5,998 vehicles specified.
Standard National: 2,043 O-licences in issue. 8,705 vehicles specified.
Standard International:  408 O-licences in issue. 2,979 vehicles specified.
Total number of specified vehicles: 17,682.
Total number of O-licences in issue: 5,415.

 O-licence applications:
New O-licences issued in full: 326.
New O-licences applied for: 360.

Public inquiries:
PIs completed: 66.
Licence revocations: 24.
Licence suspensions: 7.
Curtailment or conditions opposed: 7.
Formal warning: 15.
Operator disqualification: 0.
Transport manager disqualification: 10.
No action taken: 13.

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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.