An Operator’s Licence is difficult to obtain and quite easy to lose. The government treats the commercial vehicle industry as a cash cow and what were only small profits can soon start to vanish altogether. Add to this the constant stream of complex legislation about commercial vehicles and even the more careful operator can find himself in trouble with the Traffic Commissioner.
At Fylde Law we understand that most operators are not large companies with extensive resources and we know how difficult it can be to keep 100% legal whilst trying to do what you want to do, which is to run a successful business.
What’s the best way to ensure I keep hold of my Operators License?
The best way to avoid trouble is not to be caught! By that we mean keeping off VOSA’s radar by being compliant. The OCRS is the Operator Compliance Risk Score. It is a calculation of how compliant with the law an operator is likely to be and VOSA use it to identify which vehicles will be stopped and checked.
The calculation is a combination of road worthiness data and traffic enforcement data, so it contains such things as test pass history and the outcome of previous roadside checks. The data is taken from a rolling period of the past 3 years. Operators are then placed into the RED, AMBER or GREEN band. (The old method of predictive scoring, or guessing at the likelihood of compliance of an operator with no data, has been replaced with a GREY band.)
|OCRS Band||Road Worthiness||Total Enforcement|
|GREEN||Up to 10 defect points||Up to 5 offence points|
|AMBER||From 10 - 25 defect points||From 5 to 30 offence points|
|RED||Over 25 defect points||Over 30 offence points|
Data is weighted, according to how serious the offence is (with a Most Serious Infringement triggering a direct entry to the Red band) and according to when the offence was committed (so that the impact of an offence decreases with time). VOSA’s wonderfully unhelpful representation of this is:
It is quite easy to fall into the Red band. A tachograph infringement may attract between 25 and 500 points (though the points will become halved in the third year of the enforcement data period).
Regulation (EC) 1071/2009 specifies what will constitute a Most Serious Infringement. Operators need to be fully aware of this regulation, as the Regulation also lays down the rules governing the admission to the occupation of road transport operator.
1.(a) Exceeding the maximum 6-day or fortnightly driving time limits by margins of 25 % or more.
(b) Exceeding, during a daily working period, the maximum daily driving time limit by a margin of 50 % or more without taking a break or without an uninterrupted rest period of at least 4,5 hours.
2.Not having a tachograph and/or speed limiter, or using a fraudulent device able to modify the records of the recording equipment and/or the speed limiter or falsifying record sheets or data downloaded from the tachograph and/or the driver card.
3.Driving without a valid roadworthiness certificate if such a document is required under Community law and/or driving with a very serious deficiency of, inter alia, the braking system, the steering linkages, the wheels/tyres, the suspension or chassis that would create such an immediate risk to road safety that it leads to a decision to immobilise the vehicle.
4.Transporting dangerous goods that are prohibited for transport or transporting such goods in a prohibited or non-approved means of containment or without identifying them on the vehicle as dangerous goods, thus endangering lives or the environment to such extent that it leads to a decision to immobilise the vehicle.
5.Carrying passengers or goods without holding a valid driving licence or carrying by an undertaking not holding a valid Community licence.
6.Driving with a driver card that has been falsified, or with a card of which the driver is not the holder, or which has been obtained on the basis of false declarations and/or forged documents.
7.Carrying goods exceeding the maximum permissible laden mass by 20 % or more for vehicles the permissible laden weight of which exceeds 12 tonnes, and by 25 % or more for vehicles the permissible laden weight of which does not exceed 12 tonnes.
Do you know into what band VOSA has put you? You can find out by clicking here.
You must have systems in place to prevent offences being committed. Do you have a system of nil defect reporting? Are daily vehicle checks being recorded on the tachograph? (They should be Other Work.)How often do you check the driving licences of your drivers? (Since 19.01.13 vocational driving licences are issued for a period of only 5 years.) Do they hold the correct licence for the job? (A category D licence will not cover a coach with a luggage trailer, nor will the old Class II HGV cover a rigid with an unbraked trailer.) How do you ensure their CPD points are up to date? How often do you download vehicle unit data? (At least every 56 days.) Crucially, what do you do with that data?
Are you in the red band or are worried that you may be in danger of losing your license?
Do you want somebody to look at your systems or do you need to show the Traffic Commissioner that your systems have improved?
We will be happy to help. Please call John or Cath on 01253 293 106 for a free initial consultation.