News

Heavy vehicle testing update: three-tiered system of local COVID alert levels

The UK Government is introducing a three-tiered system of local COVID Alert Levels in England from Wednesday 14 October.

What this means for our services

The three local alert levels do not affect our heavy vehicle testing service. This means we can continue to test heavy goods vehicles (HGV) and public service vehicles (PSVs) in a way which is safe for everyone.

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Removing roadworthiness prohibitions since 28th September ’20

During the COVID-19 lockdown, ATF annual test inspections were stopped and temporary measures for prohibition removals were put in place. These are now changing.

From 28 September 2020, all ‘S’ marked prohibitions that cannot be removed at the roadside will need to be inspected by DVSA at an ATF.

If the vehicle is being used with a certificate of temporary exemption or the annual test certificate is over 6 months old, the vehicle will be referred for a full removal inspection. A new annual test certificate will be issued with the removal notice once a pass result is achieved.

Vehicles with an annual test certificate less than 6 months old will be referred for a partial inspection, where a removal notice will be issued.

Prohibitions issued for an annual test dangerous fail or police issued prohibitions will be removed through the usual process of a DVSA inspection at the ATF.

Removal inspections for all other items will continue to be done at the roadside or by the Remote Enforcement Office (REO).You will be given guidance at the time the prohibition is issued on how to get it cleared. If unsatisfactory evidence is provided to the REO the vehicle may be referred for an ATF inspection.

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Take action to avoid bridge strikes

Bridge strikes cause serious delay to rail services and other road users. Where buses are involved, there can also be injuries and even deaths. Operators are legally required to have systems in place to prevent bridge strikes occurring.

One large operator took action when they were involved in bridge strikes last year, including the use of route planning software. Here’s what happened.

Learning lessons

Following the first bridge strike, the operator investigated and rolled out fresh training for drivers, transport managers and planners. They also made sure that all sites had height measurement gauges. Following a second bridge strike, they realised they needed to do more, and explained what action they were going to take at a recent public inquiry in Bristol.

They commissioned a transport management solutions provider to develop a bespoke route planning system designed to prevent bridge strikes. Each vehicle and trailer in the fleet has an established running height on its technical record.

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Photocard Licence Expiry Extension – have you checked yours?

At the end of July DVLA advised that drivers whose photocard licence or entitlement to drive expired between 1 February and 31 August 2020 would be granted a seven-month extension from the date of expiry. DVLA are pleased to be able to advise that the EU has now agreed to increase the catchment period to 31 December 2020 and increase the extension period from 7 months to 11 months.

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EU Mobility Package; Key changes from 20 August 2020

Introduction

On 31 July 2020, the legislative texts of the European Union’s Mobility Package 1 (that’s the Road Transport Directive (Working Time) regulations), were published in the European Commission (Full details of the acts are in annex A).

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EU driving rules changing from 20th August 2020

The Department for Transport (DfT) has announced that EU drivers’ hours and tachograph rules will change with effect from 20th August ‘20.

The new rules will include:

More flexibility on the scheduling of the rest periods for some drivers on international carriage of goods – Article 8 paragraphs 6 & 6b + 8b

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Tyres over 10 years old will be banned on heavy vehicles

The subject of tyres has been discussed many times before but this was released by the DVSA on Wednesday. Therefore, please ensure that the checking of tyres (front’s especially for this announcement), on your own fleet is carried out by either your drivers, tyre contractors or workshops. Please don’t get caught out!!

The Department for Transport announced yesterday (15 July) that tyres aged 10 years or older will be banned on the front axles of lorries, buses and coaches using new laws.

You can read the full story in the Department for Transport’s news article.

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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Financial Standing; extended periods of grace!

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)
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Traffic Commissioners to resume in-person hearings from Monday 6th July 2020

Physical attendance at public inquiries and other hearings are due to resume from Monday 6 July, with social distancing measures in place.

Traffic Commissioners for Great Britain Crest

The Traffic Commissioners for Great Britain have announced that in-person tribunal hearings are set to resume from Monday 6 July 2020. This follows the postponement of cases in March 2020 as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Each tribunal location has been risk assessed and appropriate control measures identified. Steps will be put in place to maintain social distancing and ensure that facilities are COVID-secure. The health and safety of attendees, Office of the Traffic Commissioner (OTC) staff and the commissioners themselves remains of paramount importance and underpins the decision to resume in-person hearings.

Those called to a hearing will be advised of the time and date of their hearing, with sufficient notice given to prepare their case. OTC will provide advice on the steps they may need to take ahead of the hearing in the provision of evidence, and on arrival to assist in maintaining social distancing and ensuring hygiene standards.

Anyone who wants to attend a public inquiry as an observer will need to contact the OTC in advance. This is because the capacity of the tribunal rooms will be restricted during the current period. Some hearings may continue to be held via video link or equivalent. This will be limited to appropriate cases only.

Anyone called to public inquiry (P I), who has concerns about attending in person should let OTC staff know immediately on receipt of the letter calling them to a hearing.

While the majority of OTC staff continue to work from home, please direct any email enquiries to [email protected] or your relevant case worker’s email address.

https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/UKOTC/bulletins/290fb94

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