Bridge Strikes – Operators told to check vehicle height
If you are a businesses that runs heavy good vehicles or passenger transport vehicles under an Operator Licence, you should be urgently reviewing your systems and procedures for avoiding bridge strikes. In the year 2017/2018 there were 2,000 bridge strikes, with an annual cost to the taxpayer for repair standing at £23 million.
The DVSA has just updated its walk-round check guidance and as the holder of the Operator Licence you will be expected to have systems and procedures in place to ensure that, as far as possible, your drivers do not contribute to the problem. The Operator Licensing regime is primarily concerned with road safety, and bridge strikes obviously pose a significant risk. A bridge strike that suggests a failure on the part of the Operator may well lead to further investigations by the DVSA which ultimately can lead to a Public Inquiry.
Senior Traffic Commissioner Guidance Update
The Senior Traffic Commissioner (STC) earlier this year updated The Guidance Note on Legal Entities and refreshed its guidance on employees vs self-employed workers which all Operators need to be aware of. The STC repeats the HMRC position that “in road haulage it is rare for someone to be genuinely self–employed unless they are an owner driver”.
If a driver is termed self-employed and in reality are employed, then that can amount to an unfair trading advantage for the Operator which in turn can lead to regulatory action. In addition to promoting road safety, Traffic Commissioners are tasked with ensuring fair competition between Operators. Failure to comply could result in revocation of the licence to operate vehicles over 3.5t , suspension of the licence for a period of time, or a reduction in the number of Operator Licence vehicles that can be used.
If you need any Operator Licence or transport advice, please contact Jeremy Woodcraft on 020 3319 3700 or [email protected]