Troubling Trend for HGV Operators

At OLMC, we help out a lot of businesses that run HGVs. As Operators Licence and Maintenance Consultants, it is, after all, what we do.

Over recent months we have noticed a startling increase in the number of Operators who are running into serious trouble regarding their O Licence. Roadside inspections, VOSA site visits, fines and Public Inquiries are among the more serious issues that we encounter and all can have a big impact on your business.

The trend we have noticed is a massive increase in driverís hours and tachograph prohibitions and subsequent site visits by VOSA.

We see the same story again and again, it goes something like thisÖ

A driver is stopped by the roadside in a standard, mandatory inspection carried out by VOSA. The VOSA inspector carries out various vehicle checks and also checks the driverís documents and tachograph data. When checking the tacho data, the inspector discovers that the driver has not taken sufficient breaks for both that day and the previous week. The driver is given a time prohibition, fined at the roadside and the infringements are recorded against both him and the companyís Operators licence, increasing the OCRS of that licence.

The cause of the infringements is because the driver was using an incorrect tachogrpah mode , he should have been using rest when he was using POA. This tells the inspector two things. Firstly, the driver is not properly trained on driverís hours and tachographs and secondly, no one in the company was doing any form of tacho analysis as any such infringements would have been easy to spot.

An increased OCRS score means all vehicles listed on that licence are now more likely to be pulled into a roadside inspection. The following day, a different vehicle belonging to the same business is stopped and inspected. The inspector finds similar infringements. The driver is fined and infringements are recorded against the O Licence and driver, this increases the OCRS of the licence further making it more likely that vehicles will be inspected and that VOSA will perform a site visit.

VOSA do decide to perform a site visit. They inform the business owner or Transport Manager of their intentions and, the business soon realises that they donít have sufficient tachograph analysis or defect management procedures in place. They knew this the whole time of course, but nothing brings the reality home like a site inspection letter from VOSA.

Itís at this point that they pick up the phone and contact us. The real trouble is, at this point the damage is already done. We support a lot of businesses in exactly the same scenario but much of what we do is damage limitation. Itís likely that the above scenario would result in a Public Inquiry where the Traffic Commissioner has the ability to revoke or curtail the businessís Operators licence and also affect the repute of the people running the business. This can be catastrophic for a business that relies on vehicles over 3.5 tonnes.

Tacho and drivers hours seem to be a hot topic for VOSA inspectors. All of the above can be easily avoided. Basic tacho analysis and proactive and robust defect management processes donít cost the earth and are beneficial to road safety, you and your business in more ways than just keeping VOSA happy.

Getting it right is easy if the correct training is given to drivers and managers alike. Back this up with periodic tachograph analysis and infringement reports and you have a continuous learning process that will protect your operators licence and reduce down-time.

The tachograph laws cover responsibilities for both driver and operators. Both must understand and abide by them. This is where OLMC excel, we train both drivers and managers and put robust systems in place that cover all legal requirements for drivers hours and working time directive. Donít leave it too late. Call us for further information on our training courses and availability.

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