Problems Ahead for Traction Only Operators.
In recent Public Inquiries it has become apparent that the Traffic Commissioners expect more from operators who are picking up third party trailer than a mere driver walk around check.
The Guide to Maintaining Roadworthiness at 3.3 details what must happen between traction services and third-party trailers. In particular, “Traction operators would be expected to work with the trailer owners to ensure any trailers operated fall within the owners agreed SI frequency and that they are roadworthy. It is best practice for the trailer owner to provide evidence for the operator that first use checks and safety inspections have been undertaken and demonstrate there are no outstanding defects reported for the trailer.”
In normal circumstances with a British trailer owner this can be met with a copy of the most recent PMI.
This, however, creates real difficulties with trailers from other jurisdictions with less strenuous PMI testing. It has been made clear by Traffic Commissioners that operators must still work with European trailer owners as the haulier is responsible for the roadworthiness of the trailer that he is pulling. The fact that in some jurisdictions on the continent the maintenance regime is less strict than it is in the UK does not absolve the operator from getting the evidence required – despite the fact that such evidence may not exist.