Open Letter from DfT & HSE – Toilet Access is the Law

In an open letter published in May 2020, The Department for Transport (DfT), as well as the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) set out in no uncertain terms the following:

“Businesses which make or receive deliveries, should ensure that drivers have easy and safe access to toilets and hand washing facilities to support their health and wellbeing whilst carrying out their important work, which supports the economy.”

In this current age of Covid-19 and potential new lock downs, drivers are being advised to report any firm which denies them access to either a toilet or hand washing facilities.

The open letter can be read in full here, whilst more general information concerning Driver welfare at delivery/collection sites during Covid can be found here.

Public inquiry attendees must not break quarantine rules

The following it taken from an email circular sent out by the Office of the Traffic Commissioner.


PI attendees must follow the 14-day quarantine rule when arriving back in the UK from a country that is not on the exemption list.

In the short time since we reintroduced physical attendance at hearings, there have been several worrying incidents where people have arrived at a public inquiry almost immediately after flying back to the UK. This puts everyone’s health at risk and undermines the strict rules the government have put in place.

If you are due to attend a hearing within 14 days of returning to the UK, it’s vital that you check whether your travel destination is exempt from the quarantine rules. The rule can apply to all travel by coach, ferry, train or plane. 

The safety of attendees, commissioners remains the main consideration when holding in-person hearings. Our staff have completed thorough risk assessments and have put measures in place to protect the health of all concerned.

Please let OTC staff know as soon as possible if you cannot attend a hearing in person due to the quarantine rules so that attendance by video link can be considered.


Exemptions can be reviewed here.

The Traffic Commissioners Annual Report 2019/2020

This annual report tackles issues and provides information on major aspects of hte Traffic Commissioners’ judicial, regulatory & administrative roles.

This year’s report obviously centres around Covid-19, Brexit and our departure from the EU including what this will mean for the Industry.

The report can be read in full here.

End to Maintenance Schedule Relaxations

The office of the Traffic Commissioners have announced an end to the current maintenance inspection relaxations, which will take effect as of 1st September 2020. The full details can be found here.

The update also includes the following issues:

  • An extension of temporary local bus services processes until 4th January 2021
  • An increase in the notice period for service variations for Local Authorities from 24 hours to 72 hours in England & Scotland
  • Amending a registered local bus service to become a school or work bus service
  • The use of additional vehicles on services
Gov.uk

Mandatory MOT testing to be reintroduced from 1 August

As the country slowly lifts the restrictions brought about by Covid-19, Mandatory MOT tests are to resume as of the 1st August 2020.

To clarify, any driver with an MOT due before 1st Agust 2020 will still receive a 6-month exemption to help alleviate the backlog created by the pandemic. However, all vehicle must continue to be kept in roadworthy condition; with people allowed to voluntarily get their MOT sooner should they wish.

For full details on this, please review this Gov.uk article link here.

Gov.uk

HGV Levy to be Suspended for 12 Months

Starting from the 1st August 2020, the HGV Levy for UK & Overseas-registered HV’s using the UK Road system will not be required to purchase a levy. This measure has been taken to aid the UK Economies recovery.

Please note: You will still be required to buy a levy up until 31st July 2020 and that DVSA enforcement will continue.

For full details, please review this article released by Gov.uk.

Office of the Traffic Commissioner updates Coronavirus advice

The following is taken from an email circular sent out by the office of the Traffic Commissioners.


The traffic commissioners (TCs) have updated their advice for operators during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The update issued on 23 June 2020 covers:

  • an increase in the maximum period of grace for financial standing from 6 months to 12 months
  • the return of in-person tribunal hearings from 6 July 2020
  • information about requesting temporary variations to local bus services ahead of a return to normal services as lockdown restrictions ease
  • virtual training

Read the TCs’ coronavirus advice for operators

Gov.uk

Coronavirus (COVID-19) statutory directions updated

The following is taken directly from an email sent out today by the Office of the Traffic Commissioner.


The Senior Traffic Commissioner has updated his coronavirus (COVID-19) statutory document originally issued on 17 March 2020.
The update issued on 18 June 2020 includes reference to:

  • an increase in the maximum time allowed for a period of grace for financial standing an operator can receive from 6 months to 12 months
  • more information about in-person tribunal hearings in England from July 2020 (with hearings in Scotland and Wales likely to start a few weeks later as circumstances allow)

Financial standing periods of grace
The maximum period of grace for financial standing an operator can seek has increased.

Previously, it was a maximum of 6 months with the Senior Traffic Commissioner having set a 4 month starting point. The law has been changed to increase that maximum to 12 months with the STC suggesting an initial 6 month starting point. Any decisions about the grant or length of a period of grace will include an assessment of the risk to road safety.

This extension to the law applies to any determination made between 1 March 2020 and 30 September 2020. This gives operators the opportunity to recover their finances during the extended period following the resumption of normal trading as the lockdown eases.

Tell your TC early if you have problems
You should tell your TC if you are experiencing any issue in meeting the financial standing requirement. The condition on your licence gives you a month to notify changes. The TC is likely to be sympathetic and will seek to assist wherever possible, especially given the difficulties arising from COVID-19.

If you can no longer meet the financial standing requirement you are strongly advised to contact the Office of the Traffic Commissioner at Enquiries@otc.gov.uk for advice.

Anyone who fails to do so can expect a TC to require explanations as to why they failed to comply, and it may result in a finding of loss of good repute.

Further information
The traffic commissioners have also published two other documents during the outbreak. We recommend you read them:

FORS to resume on-site Bronze Audits

Starting on 23rd March 2020, FORS (Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme) due to the coronavirus pandemic (Covid-19). But earlier today, they have now released a set of rules and requirements for carrying out Bronze on-site audits in light of the current easing steps undertaken by the Government.

To read about this more, and to see the guidelines; click here.