What offences result in driver conduct hearings?
Although many driver conduct cases are dealt with via letter and written submission, committing certain criminal offences means that you may be called to a hearing. Examples of those types of offences are:
CU80 offences - using a mobile phone or other hand-held interactive communication device whilst driving
Any ‘non-driving’ offence where the outcome was a community penalty and/or custody (including a suspended prison sentence)
Driving offences that result is a disqualification being imposed, including but not limited to drink driving, dangerous driving, causing death or very serious injury in any motor vehicle
Any offence resulting in a suspended or immediate prison sentence or community penalty
Failure to stop following an accident
Falsifying tachograph records
Other tachograph offence and drivers hours
Any speeding offences committed whilst driving a goods vehicle (SP10)
Interfering with a speedometer
Failure to undertake driver certificate of professional competence (DCPC) training
Convictions for sexual offences
Convictions for drug related, harassment, violence, public order and/or dishonesty (including theft) offences
Home Office Border Force breaches
Every case is unique and the outcome will depend on an number of factors including the type of offence and/or number of offences committed, aggravating and mitigating factors, whether it was planned, whether it was committed in the course of a licence holder acting as a large good vehicle (LGV) or a passenger carrier vehicle (PCV) holder. Those responsible for the safety of passengers have added responsibilities. The Traffic Commissioner will examine if it was a repeat offence and how probable further offences may be. Wider conduct of the driver unrelated to their vocational licence requirements and expectations can also be considered and the driver may be asked to answer questions on this.
What are examples of aggravating factors?
The list is extensive however some examples include:
- Causing death or serious injury in any vehicle
- Previous convictions
- Taking any vehicle without the owner’s consent
- Disregard of a court order
- Evidence of being over the drink or drug drive limit
What are some examples of mitigating factors?
- No previous conviction/s
- Less serious offences which come to light in a single encounter
- Contributory negligence by other driver or road user
- Not related to fatigue
As well as considering the circumstances of any offence and background information relating to that, the Traffic Commissioner will also consider the background to the driver and will consider previous good conduct as evidence by way of character references and any other evidence specific to the circumstances of a driver’s case that may assist them in making a determination.
The outcome of any criminal proceedings are directly considered by the Traffic Commissioner to the extent that the penalty imposed in any criminal court can be the benchmark for any regulatory sanction imposed by the Traffic Commissioner at a driver conduct hearing. Whether you intend to plead guilty or not guilty, representation in the criminal court to assist with defending or even minimising any penalty can have an impact on your vocational licence further down the line. For example, a disqualification of a certain length imposed by a Magistrates’ Court in relation to your standard licence could result in an extension of the ban in relation to your vocational licence. The Traffic Commissioners are guided by statutory guidance. Our specialist motoring and traffic offence solicitors work alongside our road transport team and can provide an end to end service.
What are the possible outcomes from a driver conduct hearing?
Traffic Commissioners can take the following actions against a professional license holder:
- Taking no action
- Issuing you with a formal written warning
- Disqualifying you for a set period of time and/or until you have retaken your CPC
- Suspending your licence
- Revoking your licence
Drivers who are summoned to a driver conduct hearing should seek legal advice as soon as possible. Call our specialist solicitors now for immediate help and advice on 01616 966 229.