Updated advice to operators from Senior Traffic Commissioner

22 January 2021

To recognise that goods carrying industries may face significant challenges in the coming months, the Senior Traffic Commissioner has issued temporary guidance to the Traffic Commissioners on the way they carry out their regulatory duties during this period.

Available at www.gov.uk/government/publications/traffic-commissioners-contingency-and-emergency-planning-covid-19, this has now been updated by additional advice and will remain subject to change as the response to the pandemic develops.

The most recent update can be found at www.gov.uk/government/publications/advice-heavy-goods-and-public-service-vehicle-operators-covid-19.

It includes answers to questions such as: “Can I temporarily operate more vehicles than authorised under my goods vehicle operator’s licence to meet an urgent public demand?”

Operators are advised that they need to ask a Traffic Commissioner to grant a temporary exemption (in writing) from any requirement to hold a standard licence, which would otherwise be imposed by sections 2 and 3 of the Goods Vehicle (Licensing of Operators) Act.

Commissioners will only consider the use this power on receipt of a written request from the person / entity proposing to operate. All requests should be sent to Enquiries@otc.gov.uk setting out the proposal and justification.

Revised advice on maintaining vehicles in line with the stated intervals is also included and covers situations where operators are no longer able to meet the intervals to which they have previously committed.

“Traffic Commissioners are aware that there may be isolated instances where Covid-19 results in unexpected and unpredictable staff shortages within a maintenance facility,” the reply states. “You should adopt a risk-based approach as you should know your business and where the greatest risks may be.”

The updated guidance emphasises that any change or extension the normal PMI (Preventative Maintenance Inspection) period should be subject to a documented risk assessment.