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Changes to the Statutory guidance documents for Vocational Drivers and what it may mean for you.

This document was updated on the 29th September 2020. The main changes for drivers are with regards to:

  1. Overloading
  2. Maintenance Defects
  3. Bridge strikes
  4. Armed Service Personnel

 

Powers

  • The powers of the Traffic Commissioner have been extended to PCV community licence holders under s. 115 of the Road Traffic Act 1988.

 

  • The Traffic Commissioner also reiterates the importance of the driver understanding the Driver Conduct Hearing and a discussion of the measures required such as an interpreter to ensure the Hearing is understood.

 

 

Mobile Telephone Offences

The Traffic Commissioner is tightening the response to mobile telephone use whilst driving. The Statutory guidance is updated to reflect that as of the 1st March 2017 the penalty for using a mobile telephone whilst driving was increased from three penalty points to six penalty points to reflect the severity of the conduct.

  • The Guidance also introduces a new starting point for when one CU80 (mobile telephone) offence and 1 speeding offence is committed in a commercial vehicle. This is a 6-week suspension.

 

Collisions with infrastructure- Bridge Strikes

New information about how the Traffic Commissioners are dealing with bridge strikes is available. The Statutory Document points all drivers and operators to the gov website where additional guidance is available.

  • When an incident is brought to the attention of the Traffic Commissioner, the driver should expect to be called to a hearing and may face a period of suspension.
  • Where a vehicle collision with a bridge is caused by carelessness or negligence the Traffic Commissioner will consider a revocation and disqualification.
  • Case example 30: an LGV strikes a railway bridge that his vehicle was too large to travel under, there were no casualties and there was good visibility. The driver received a 6-month disqualification. This is to reflect the risk and disruption to other road/rail users and the economic costs associated with the bridge strike.
  • Case example 31: a PSV strikes a railway bridge that his vehicle was too large to travel under, there were no casualties and there was poor visibility. The driver received a 2-month suspension.

 

Speed

New starting points have been published for offences relating to speed limiters:

  • Disabler of a speed limiter: up to 4 weeks suspension
  • Speed limiter interference: revocation and disqualification for 12 months.

 

Overloading and maintenance

New guidance on overloading or maintenance related fixed penalty notices, range from warning letter to 28-day suspension.

  • Case example 26: overloading an LGV at 25% when the drivers record is clean. The driver received a 2-week suspension
  • Case example 27: overloading an LGV at 12.5%, this is the drivers third overloading offence. The driver received a 4-week suspension.
  • Where there is a use of a vehicle with a defect that should have been identified as part of the driver walk around check, the starting point is 14-day suspension.
  • Case example 28: a maintenance defect was observed that would have been obvious on a walk around check. The driver received a 2-week suspension. In these circumstances the Traffic Commissioner will consider:
    • The nature of the defect
    • The degree of severity related risk to road safety
    • How obvious the defect would have been to the driver.

 

 

Abusive/intimidating behaviour

Where the Traffic Commissioner receives a report from a public body of a driver adopting abusive or intimidating behaviour to a public official, the starting point is a 14-day suspension.

 

Armed Service Personnel

New information regarding armed service personnel has also been included in the Statutory Document. All these drivers will be dealt with solely by the South Eastern and Metropolitan Traffic Commissioner to ensure consistency of approach.

 

The full table of entry points for military drivers is found at annex B of the Statutory Guidance.

 

Disqualification between the UK and the Republic of Ireland

  • The Statutory Document has been updated to reflect the agreement of mutual recognition of driving disqualifications between the UK and the Republic of Ireland. A list of the specified disqualifications are found at Annex G of the document.
  • If a disqualified driver continues to drive, then he/she is committing the offence of driving other than in accordance with a licence.

 

Death by dangerous driving

The case example relating to death by dangerous driving has been expanded from requiring evidence of safe driving for a number of years, to now also disqualifying the driver for 10 years. A note is added explaining the public must have confidence in the competence of vocational drivers.

 

Persistent, serious offending

A case has been added at example 17 relating to a driver who has a number of serious offences. The example includes a 3-year LGV disqualification 5 years ago and an 18-month disqualification by the Court for dangerous driving. The Traffic Commissioner refused to restore the vocational licence of the driver and extended the disqualification until the driver’s 80th birthday.

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