11th January 2013
One questionnaire that definitely deserves an answer
Recent enquiries suggest that many of the mandatory Traffic Manager’s Questionnaires sent out by VOSA last year remain uncompleted.
This could lead to potentially catastrophic consequences for them and the operator they work for warns road transport lawyer Andrew Brammer of Cartwright King solicitors.
In the latter part of 2011, new European legislation required all nominated transport managers and operators with a standard O-licence to complete and sign-off a short questionnaire. The purpose was to enable the Department of Transport to contribute to a pan-European database of operators and transport managers, and also to enable auditing of transport managers’ competency.
Amongst other matters, the questionnaire required the nominated transport manager to set out their individual competency and whether they were internal or external transport managers. External transport managers were also limited to performing transport management functions for no more than four operators, with a combined fleet not exceeding 50 vehicles. In addition, the operators were required to sign the questionnaire to confirm that the information contained within was accurate and correct.
Twelve months on and it seems that Traffic Commissioners are loosing patience with operators and transport managers that have still not returned the mandatory questionnaires.
Failure to comply could lead to the Traffic Commissioner calling in both the operator and the transport manager to Public Inquiry to explain their failure to respond, and ultimately take regulatory action. Non-compliance with what should be a relatively simple and well publicised exercise will be a good indicator to a Traffic Commissioner of more general problems within the operator’s business. Ultimately, the Traffic Commissioner could revoke the operator’s licence citing it as evidence of not being a fit and proper person to operate, and could disqualify the transport manager from working in that capacity throughout Europe.
So what can you do to protect yourself?
- Make sure that your transport manager can demonstrate their individual competency.
- If you use an external transport manager confirm that they do not exceed the obligatory thresholds.
- Ensure that the completed questionnaire has been submitted.
- If you are unsure about whether you ever received a questionnaire then contact your local Office of the Traffic Commissioner and find out.
- If not or it has been only recently submitted be prepared to be able to answer why.
- If you are in any doubt about whether the questionnaire relates to you or overall regulatory compliance then speak to a solicitor.