Expert team of Barristers and Solicitors with years of experience in providing advice and representation in Road Transport Law.

5 Entirely Avoidable Mistakes Made by Too Many HGV Operators


We take a quick look at 5 of the most common, but entirely avoidable, mistakes made by far too many HGV operators. This list has been compiled by the transport lawyers at specialist road transport law firm Smith Bowyer Clarke:


1. Trusting Your Drivers Too Much

In a perfect world every operator could rely on their drivers to keep to their driver’s hours, carry out their walkaround checks, and avoid cutting corners. Unfortunately, some drivers regard compliance as something to be got around and others dislike doing their walk-round checks in the rain, cold or dark. Even drivers who can normally be trusted might put the urgency of the job ahead of their duties to compliance. In the real world an operator who doesn’t check up on their drivers can expect little sympathy from the Traffic Commissioner when things go wrong.


2. Letting Your PMI’s Slip

If your preventative maintenance inspections are due every 6 weeks, this is not a guideline – it is a maximum. Letting your PMI’s slip past their due dates will be a ‘red flag’ as far as enforcement action is concerned.


3. Allowing Sloppy Daily Defect Reports

One of the first things the DVSA (formerly VOSA) will do when they carry out an inspection on an operator will be to check through their daily defect reports. How confident are you that all the driver and vehicle details are completed, mileages filled in, and that all defects are being properly identified, rectified and signed off? When was the last time you audited your daily defect reports?


4. Cutting Corners with Brake Testing

This is a big one. As a matter of course, all Traffic Commissioners and DVSA officers will look to see how often proper roller brake testing is being carried out on your vehicles. You cannot just assume your maintenance provider is conducting brake tests – check!


5. Losing Your Financial Standing

It is a fundamental condition of your O licence that you have at least a certain level of finance available at all times to maintain your vehicles. This is an ongoing requirement calculated as an average over three months. Paying lip-service to the financial standing condition is a quick way to fall foul of the Traffic Commissioner.


At Smith Bowyer Clarke our transport lawyers are highly experienced in represent Operators, Transport Managers and Drivers at Traffic Commissioner Public Inquiries and Driver Conduct Hearings across the UK.


For more detail on any of the above, speak to one of our transport lawyers today in confidence for a free initial consultation.

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