Road transport operator update - 29 April 2020
Posted 30/04/2020 : By: Tim Ridyard
Here is a revised summary of some developments in road transport and logistics since our last update.
Workplace/health and safety
HM Government policy remains that all supply chains must function and that all logistics businesses should continue as normal, subject to compliance with public health advice. Journeys of staff to and from work are regarded as ‘essential travel’ as confirmed in a letter from the DfT to the FTA/RHA on 30th March 2020.
Very many in this sector are unable to work at home so safe distancing is needed in respect of which the HSE has issued advice. This is to keep businesses open and work activities continuing during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. But, there remain safety issues to address where the 2-metre rule is unfeasible. Further advice ‘COVID-19 in non-healthcare settings’ provides assistance; businesses need to have procedures to ensure wiping of vehicles when entering or leaving them (change of drivers) and keeping the same crews or cohorts of workers working together to minimise risks.
Suspension of enforcement by DVSA for those drivers whose qualification will lapse in the period 1 April 2020 to the end of September 2020 is now in place. Details can be found in our article here. In addition, the DfT has been consulting on how to mitigate the problem of a major training backlog; there is a proposal to allow vocational drivers without Driver CPC to have a temporary qualification to 30 September after 14 (not 35) hours of training. Many training providers are conducting ongoing training remotely through webinars.
The issue of driver licence renewals/medicals for vocational Cat C and D drivers reaching 45 years of age has been resolved. Where a D4 medical report cannot be supplied an application to DVLA can be lodged without it. A new licence will be issued but for a period of 12 months only. See our article here.
Traffic Commissioner Guidance
After the Senior Traffic Commissioner issued Contingency and Emergency Planning Guidance (covering periods of grace, operating centres, financial standing, transport managers, interim licences, temporary goods exemptions, bus registrations and community transport) an advice document was published. There have been subsequent updates, the most recent of which covers how external auditing of operators is to be conducted during the current circumstances.
The updates provide further useful information about bringing VOR vehicles back into service with examples, transport managers working at home and applying for temporary exemptions to operate when otherwise a licence would be required.
If you require any advice with regard to operator licencing then please contact us. We envisage a number of problem areas: driver issues, financial difficulties and failures to renew licences on time when fleets are stood down as well as managing service inspection intervals.
Annual test for HGVs, trailers and PSVs
With effect from 21 March 2020, there has been granted an automatic three-month time extension, save in the following categories where exemptions need to be applied for (click for link on each):
- a lorry, bus or trailer that needs a first MOT (annual test) before 31 March 2020
- a lorry, bus or trailer returning to service if the test certificate expired before March 2020
- a lorry or trailer needing a dangerous goods (ADR) test before 31 March 2020.
There is now also in force an automatic six-month extension for cars and vans the annual test was due to expire on or after 30 March 2020.
Suspension of driving tests for all vehicles
Theory tests and practical driving tests have been suspended to ‘help prevent the spread of coronavirus’. This is up to and including 8 May 2020 for theory tests and for up to three months from 20th March for driving tests. It applies to all types of theory tests, driving tests and approved driving instructor (ADI) standards checks.
NB: there is provision for emergency tests for critical workers if your work is critical to the COVID-19 response, or you work in a critical sector. These include health and social care; education and childcare; key public services; local and national government; food and other necessary goods; public safety and national security; transport; utilities, communications and financial services.
Webinars and Training
We contemplate that we will soon be providing more information and updates via webinars. We would be pleased to hear from you about how we can help your business. What content of any kind could we provide that would benefit your management and other driving/non-driving staff?
Further Advice on Coronavirus
Visit our dedicated COVID-19 (Coronavirus) page for all the latest updates from us and find more links to further information and advice.
We Can Help You
We will continue to update you about developments as they arise.
Alternatively, if you or your business require advice or need assistance for any road transport matters, please get in touch with our specialist Road Transport team through this website or by calling 0330 404 0778.
This information is correct at 4.30pm on 29 April 2020.
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