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

The Dangers of Delegating – Operators, Transport Managers, and “Passing the Buck”

As an operator, it’s easy to think you can leave the running of your operators’ licence in the hands of your Transport Manager. After all you might ask, isn’t that what they get paid for? If it all goes wrong, surely it will be them taking the blame, not you?


Unfortunately, you would be very, very wrong.


If you are a director of a firm that holds an operators’ licence, you are responsible for the undertakings given when the licence was granted. It may very well be that your core business does not revolve around transport, but it is your business – and your business to know how the HGVs that you run are being managed.


This is by no means a technical responsibility. You cannot delegate it. Getting it wrong could cost you your business or, in the worst case scenarios, your freedom. If a poorly-maintained truck with an over-tired or unlicensed driver kills someone on the roads, then a prison cell could await you.


Your Transport Manager is there to help, not there to pass the buck to.


What Should I do?

 If you do nothing else, get yourself a copy of the Senior Traffic Commissioner’s Statutory Guidance. Document Number 3 deals with Transport Managers. It’s your business so get to know it


  • If you know little about transport, then get yourself on an Operator’s Awareness Course. It will bring you up to speed on what you need to know – and it only takes a day. You will then at least be in a position to ask your Transport Manager the right questions.


  • Hold regular meetings with your Transport Manager. Minute them properly and ask the basic questions. These should cover everything from daily defect inspections to eyesight checks, and everything in between.


  • Check how much time your Transport Manager is devoting to his job – are they exercising “Continuous and Effective control.”


  • Ensure that your Transport Manager is keeping up with developments in the industry and is trickling these down to your drivers. As an operator, this also applies to you.


  • If you have any concerns, consider commissioning a compliance audit from a reputable Transport Consultant. It is far better that you find and fix any faults before the DVSA find them.


All of the above will cost you time, effort and money but you will be surprised at how much better you will sleep when you know that you are running a safe and compliant business.


Where do I start?

At Smith Bowyer Clarke Road Transport Lawyers, our solicitors and barristers have years of experience in representing operators at Public Inquiries, Criminal Courts, and DVSA interviews nationwide. We also deliver training services to the industry. We can put you in touch with some of the best Transport Consultants in the business. If you have been called to a Public Inquiry or even if you just have concerns regarding your compliance, get in touch today for a free confidential consultation and find out how we can help both you and your business.


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