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Driver Conduct Hearings: A Brief Glimpse into How the Traffic Commissioners Make a Decision

31 July

Part of the Traffic Commissioner’s role is to regulate lorry, bus and coach drivers.

Each year around 3000 professional drivers are called to hearings about their conduct. Drivers can be called to a hearing for a range of conduct issues, including drivers’ hours offences, falsification of records, dangerous driving or any other relevant convictions.

We are able to help at such hearings and also to provide training to your staff to make them a less likely occurrence.

Below is an example provided by the Office of the Traffic Commissioner of how Traffic Commissioners reach their decisions in driver conduct cases.

The Case

In the case used as an example here, a HGV driver is convicted of 14 offences of falsification after DVSA investigations revealed serious offences were hidden by false records.

The Traffic Commissioner used the DVSA’s evidence from their investigation as the offences had been proven in court.

The driver is given a chance to explain at the hearing and claims that he thought the card could be removed if the vehicle was not being used for hire or reward and admits to taking the tractor unit home on occasions, which was when he removed the card.

What the Traffic Commissioner does next

The Traffic Commissioner considers what he has heard.

He believes that the driver has learnt from the enforcement and regulatory processes and takes into account the driver’s evidence that there have been no further offences committed. The driver’s cooperation with the DVSA is also noted.

The statutory guidance

The Traffic Commissioner looks at the statutory guidance when dealing with driver conduct cases. It provides a definitive starting point for the level of regulatory action to be taken against drivers.

For false records, the starting point for more than six offences of pulling a card out is revocation of the driver’s professional licence and disqualification for 12 months.

The Traffic Commissioner assesses whether there are any mitigating or aggravating factors which may be relevant.

Here, the Traffic Commissioner believes that the driving was excessive and at times, clearly dangerous. The driver chose to hide the true facts of his driving.

This is then balanced against the cooperation of the driver and the fact that the driver has not committed any further offences after the initial investigation.

The decision

After weighing up the evidence, the Traffic Commissioner then issues their decision.

In this case, the Traffic Commissioner found no reason to depart from the initial starting point provided by the statutory guidance. The driver’s professional licence is revoked and he is disqualified for 12 months.

If you or one of your drivers have been called to a hearing regarding driver conduct please call us on 01254 828 300 and ask for a member of our Regulatory team. Alternatively, you can email us at regulatory@backhouses.co.uk.

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