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Road transport solicitors for hauliers & passenger operators

Our solicitors assist road transport and passenger transport operators nationally. We are defence experts and do not conduct prosecution work on behalf of DVSA or the Traffic Commissioner, we act for operators and drivers only. The road transport industry is one of the most regulated industries in Europe. There are extensive regulations and acts covering the requirements in addition to the transportation and time pressures of delivering goods and services. We advise clients in relation to heavy goods vehicle (HGV) and public service vehicle (PSV) licences. Our team has excellent working relationships with leading experts and consultants within the transport sector. We are able to take the initial details of your case over the phone or via video conference if you would prefer and can arrange to visit your operating centre where required and irrelevant of where you are located. We attend public inquiries in all eight different traffic areas across England, Wales and Scotland and attend criminal courts for matters dealt with in England and Wales on a regular basis. 

Stephensons has experience of advising all operators of  HGV and LGV related businesses, whether transport is the main element of business or whether the ability to operate HGVs is essential to their main area of business. Our road transport team also represents all four types of PSV operator, those holding a standard license nationally and/or internationally, a restricted license or special restricted license. A PSV operator’s licence is required if your vehicle is designed or adapted to carry nine or more passengers and payment is taken for carrying passengers. Whether you are a travel company taking people on long distance excursions, or short distance trips, a limousine company, taxi or any other type of PSV, Stephensons has the knowledge and experience to assist you, call us on 01616 966 229.

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Operator commitments & obligations

Every operator has commitments and obligations that are related to the conditions on their licence. Amongst the most basic of conditions are to:

  • Ensure that vehicles are taxed, insured and have an up to date MOT
  • Ensure that you are aware that drivers have and retain the correct licence to drive that specific vehicle
  • Keep all vehicles and trailers in roadworthy condition. This is assisted by ensuring compliance with other conditions such as:
    • Ensuring that drivers do and record a daily walk-round check of the vehicle
    • Ensure vehicles are subjected to a periodic maintenance inspection within the specified time indicated on the operator’s licence
    • Keep both driver walk-round check records and maintenance inspection records for 15 months
  • Ensure complete and transparent compliance with the drivers’ hours and tachograph rules
  • Ensure that the maximum number of vehicles to be allowed to be used, as stated on the licence, is not exceeded
  • Operate only from the operating centre(s) stated on the licence
  • Inform the Traffic Commissioner within 28 days, about:
    • Any convictions of the licence holder or their drivers or other relevant staff
    • Any changes in maintenance arrangements (e.g. change in frequency or change in maintenance provider)
    • Any plan to change the material circumstances of the operator such as a change in entity (i.e. from a sole trader to a partnership) or a change to the directorship of the company under which the operator’s licence is held
    • Any change in financial status (i.e. bankruptcy or entering administration)

It is particularly important that you inform the Traffic Commissioner in advance of any proposed changes. If a public inquiry is called as a result of a failure to comply with any one condition, the Traffic Commissioner will routinely investigate all other aspects of the operation to ensure complete compliance.

Overlap between criminal courts (Magistrates’ Court and Crown Court) and regulatory tribunals (the Traffic Commissioner)

Being charged and convicted of a criminal offence as either a licence holder or a vocational driver will invariably see you end up before the Traffic Commissioner for consideration of regulatory action. If you have been requested to attend and DVSA interview early intervention from specialist road transport solicitors is key, it could help you avoid prosecution or being called before the Traffic Commissioner for a Public Inquiry.  It is crucial for you to have the best advice to prepare and representation is always recommended. The Traffic Commissioner has extensive powers over operators, including being able to remove or suspend your license, impose reductions on the number of vehicles authorised or put conditions on your licence. Similarly, extensive powers are available over drivers, with the Traffic Commissioner having the option to issue a formal warning, to suspend your vocational licence for a period of weeks or months, or to revoke the licence entirely. 

Our criminal justice team can assist, HGV, LGV and  PSV’s in the event of serious injury and fatalities caused to passengers. Our solicitors also have specialist experience of defending large-scale conspiracy cases.

We have specialist road transport solicitors, a regulatory team and a Legal 500 tier 1 ranked criminal justice defence team. We can assist you with the following:

Driver Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) and Police

Criminal justice defence

Cross border

For advice call our road transport solicitors on 01616 966 229 or complete our online enquiry form and a member of the team will contact you directly to discuss your requirements. 

What is the role of Traffic Commissioner?

The Traffic Commissioner is responsible for the licensing and regulation of  heavy goods vehicles, buses and coaches, and the registration of local bus services in Great Britain. There are 8 traffic regions in Great Britain and the licensing system is divided into those areas. There is a designated Traffic Commissioner for each area and they are supported by Deputy Traffic Commissioners who regularly sit at public inquires where necessary. If you want to apply for a license you would apply to the Traffic Commissioner, who gives consideration to the criteria being met and given by the applicant. Traffic commissioners are appointed by the Secretary of State for Transport and are independent from VOSA and other enforcement authorities. They act in a regulatory capacity only when a case is bought before them.

Traffic Commissioner are the primary regulator of the road transport sector in Britain. Their primary purpose is making sure that we have safe and reliable operators of goods and passenger vehicles. Traffic commissioners may take regulatory action against an operator - where they may revoke, suspend or curtail an operator’s licence.

What is the role of DVSA/VOSA?

The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) closed on 31 March 2014. It has been replaced by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA). They are able to investigate and prosecuting any offences relating to lorries, buses and other vehicles. In relation to heavy good vehicles DVSA examiners can carry out routine and targeted checks on vehicles, drivers and operators ensuring compliance with road safety legislation and environmental standards, they do not require police approval to do so. They can also visit operators premises and carry out inspections, reviewing records.  They can conduct interviews and decide what action is to be taken. They can summons you to court or refer you to the Traffic Commissioner. When doing so they will  gather evidence to assist the Traffic Commissioner at driver conduct hearings and public inquiry. In the case of an accident they are also responsible for carrying out investigations.

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