Maintaining the undertaking

17 April 2018

Operator licence holders and transport managers have a responsibility to take all reasonable steps to ensure that the rules on drivers’ hours and records, overloading and driver licensing are kept to. This responsibility is enshrined in the undertaking that forms part of the declaration made at the time of applying for an O-licence and penalties, up to and including loss of the O-licence and personal disqualification, may be levied if it is not observed. This is an onerous duty and not made any easier by the fact that one of the distinguishing characteristics of the transport industry is its dispersed nature. This means that much of the time operations go on at a distance from where the manager is, so he or she cannot hope to supervise them personally to ensure compliance with the law. In this article, Richard Smith aims to provide some guidance and help, and summarises the top four offences resulting from encounters with inspectors, at the roadside or on visits to the premises.

GDPR — do you know what you have to do?

28 March 2018

As the time approaches for the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) on 25 May 2018, many businesses still need clarification on how it might affect them and what steps they should be taking. In this feature, Andrew Woolfall answers some common questions raised in the run-up to the legislation coming into force and explains some of the GDPR terminology.

Safe workplace transport

8 March 2018

On dark wintery nights, bright spring mornings and all conditions in between, workplace transport safety and constant vigilance matter, says Jon Herbert, with key responsibilities for employers, employees, contractors and the self-employed.

Case report: haulage company fined over £100,000 for dumping waste on farmland

6 March 2018

On 15 January 2018, Exeter Crown Court fined CC Haulage & Sons Ltd, haulage and site clearance company, £14,000, and ordered them to pay £5000 costs, for dumping waste on Devon farmland. They were also subject to a £90,000 Proceeds of Crime confiscation order, bringing the total fine to £109,000. Polly Lord reports on the facts of the case.

Data protection regulation (GDPR) and commercial transport

27 February 2018

On 25 May 2018 the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will be introduced into UK law. This European legislation — which will not be affected by Brexit — can be seen as the next step in the evolution of data protection law. It builds upon the UK’s old rules as set out in the Data Protection Act 1998 and in many ways, is a precursor for new domestic legislation which is likely to come into effect later this year and is currently being debated by Parliament in the form of a new Data Protection Bill. Andrew Woolfall of Backhouse Jones solicitors discusses the implications of these regulations for the transport industry.

Car or van?

20 February 2018

It is important for a business to decide if a vehicle is a van or car. This has implications for the business (National Insurance contributions (NICs) and VAT input tax claims) and the employee (amount of tax applied on the benefit of using the vehicle). Usually, just looking at the vehicle will determine if a vehicle is a van or a car. There can, however, be difficulties with vehicles such as vans with a second row of seating and various land rover defender type vehicles. This issue “taxes” the minds of even the largest businesses. For example, Coca Cola has recently had an appeal heard by the First Tier Tax Tribunal on this issue. John Davison investigates.

Preparing for autonomous vehicles

13 February 2018

The Department for Transport has recently consulted on some proposed changes to the Construction and Use (C&U) Regulations and the Highway Code with a view to amending both so that some existing technology may be used without risk of contravening the current law and guidance. This is a further step towards making fully autonomous vehicles legally permissible. Richard Smith explains why these changes are necessary and the technology involved, with a look ahead to the future for automation.

Changes of entity and the Traffic Commissioner

6 February 2018

The Traffic Commissioners recently (January 2018) issued a reminder to operators on how to manage sudden changes to business circumstances. Chris Powell of Smith Bowyer Clarke, Road Transport Lawyers gives an outline of the law on legal entities and operators’ licences and considers different ways in which a change of entity or a material change in circumstances can place an operator’s licence at risk.

Appeal decision — postings on social media

30 January 2018

Postings on social media that cause considerable distress and upset affect an operator’s repute and can lead to licence revocation and disqualification from holding an operator’s licence even if the post is not unlawful. Michael Jewell reports on an appeal decision of the Upper Tribunal in December 2017 which has ramifications for haulage and public service vehicle (PSV) operations.

Business, borders and Brexit

23 January 2018

The most important issue facing the transport industry during 2018 will be how it will be affected by the Government’s negotiations over the decision to leave the European Union. Unfortunately, exactly the same could be said at the beginning of last year and, despite dozens of meetings and the publication of several thousand words of supposed clarification, the industry is little closer to an understanding of how it will be expected to operate in a post-Brexit world. In this article, Paul Clarke examines the scant progress that has been made towards an agreement, reviews the often contradictory positions of those involved in the discussions and assesses the suggestions put forward by various industry bodies and trade groups which are growing increasingly anxious as the deadline approaches.