SBC NEWS LETTER – 12th April 2020
Covid 19 Round Up
There have been numerous announcements from the Office of the Traffic Commissioner and the Department for Transport which will assist you during this time of unprecedented challenge. Read our round up and if we can help you please call our friendly team for a free initial consultation.
From 23 March 2020 to 21 April 2020, DfT announced a relaxation to drivers’ hours rules, for goods vehicle drivers. In particular for drivers following EU Rules:
- The break of 45 minutes can now be taken after 5 ½ hours instead of 4 ½ hours
- Daily driving limit can be extended to 11 hours
- Weekly driving limit is extended from 56 hours to 60 hours
IMPORTANT NOTE – If a driver wishes to rely on the relaxed rules, a print out must be created including driver name, licence number, date, signature, details and reasons for the extension, journey details. This must be done at the time of the journey and retained.
Driver CPC training can now be delivered via digital platforms by approved providers. It has also been announced that drivers whose CPC card expires between 1 March 2020 and 30 September 2020 can continue driving. The expired card must be produced to enforcement agencies if requested. Operators are encouraged to keep up with a training regime where possible to ensure that drivers maintain safety standards during this very busy period. The position regarding vehicle or operator fleet insurance should be clarified prior to relying on the relaxation.
The issue of driver medicals being suspended has not yet been resolved.
Annual Testing / Maintenance
MOT testing requirements for lorries, buses and trailers have been suspended from 31 March 2020 for 3 months. The electronic database online will show the new expiry date, this should be noted. It is still the user’s responsibility to ensure that the vehicle is roadworthy and you should put additional procedures in place to ensure you meet your obligations.
The Traffic Commissioner has issued guidance to confirm that exceptionally and in limited circumstances, PMI intervals can be extended by 50% with a maximum of 17 weeks. If this is needed, the Traffic Commissioner records must be updated and a written explanation as to why this is justified, kept in the vehicle maintenance file. Operators are expected to exhaust other options including mobile technicians. Operators must also be mindful of results of driver defect reports to consider whether it is appropriate to use the vehicle with an extended interval. This applies to all standard licence goods vehicle operators and restricted operators who fall into a small category of essential use.
Tachograph Calibration and Servicing requirements are extended for 3 months from April 2020.
Material changes within the business
Operators may face temporary challenges relating to Covid-19 and the government restrictions. If a Transport Manager is forced to isolate for a period of time which means they cannot have continuous and effective control, the Operator must appoint a replacement or apply for period of grace to continue operating without a Transport Manager. If the who fleet has been stood down and the Transport manager furloughed, in most cases no application is required for a period of grace.
If access to the Operating Centre is lost or the business is required to work from additional operating Centres, an application must be made the to Traffic Commissioner as soon as possible for either a period of grace or for a variation of the Licence.
Local Bus Services
Traffic Commissioners will consider short notice dispensations for disrupted services and variation applications can be made via an email service. The procedure is fully outlined in the Advice Note dated 6 April 2020.
OTC & DVSA
Public Inquiry and Driver Conduct Hearings
All face to face hearings were adjourned from mid March in line with government guidance on social distances. Smith Bowyer Clarke Road Transport Lawyers conducted the first digital Public Inquiry which was a great success and it is hoped that we can arrange to have more outstanding applications concluded in this way in the near future.
DVSA has suspended all in person enforcement and site visits will not be conducted for the foreseeable future. Operators and drivers can be requested to provide documents for remote enforcement. Postal and email addresses must be kept up to date.
London & Regional
The Direct Vision Standard has been postponed in London, but only until February 2021. Campaigners are lobbying for a longer period to avoid Operators needing to invest at this difficult time.
Road User Charging Schemes including Congestion Charge, LEZ and ULEZ have been suspended from 23 March 2020 until further notice
All Clean Air Zones across the UK regions due to be introduced in 2020 have been postponed until 2021.
All guidance and advice notes linked on our dedicated Twitter page @SBCTransportLaw
Our team are working able happy to assist with any query
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