Investigations under caution

As a road transport business (supplying transport services to others or using your own transport as part of your business) you must of course ensure you comply with all relevant laws that will include those relating to: vehicle safety, health and safety, drivers’ hours, driver licensing, road tax and road user levies, safety of vehicles, Construction & Use regulations, overloading, operator licensing etc.

All responsible businesses set out to obey the law. But, an accident or incident or a roadside investigation or a routine visit from any enforcement agency may lead to a request for an interview under caution if it is suspected an offence has been committed. This may come from the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), Environment Agency, the police or other agencies.

This is something that needs to be taken very seriously and, to achieve the best outcome, advice should be taken before any interview in every case.

"You do not have to say anything; But it may harm your defence if you do not mention, when questioned, something which you later rely on in court; Anything you do say may be given in evidence."

(Police & Criminal Evidence Act 1984) 

We can advise you about interviews and be present at any interview with you.

After any request to attend an interview we can advise:

  • if you are actually obliged to attend or should attend the interview
  • whether you should provide a written statement at the interview
  • whether you should provide a written statement instead of an interview
  • about the consequences of giving information in any interview
  • about obtaining pre-interview disclosure from the enforcement agency
  • about negotiating a non-court outcome for you e.g. warning letter or caution (a formal warning after admitting an offence).

Many attend interviews unrepresented on the basis of ‘we have not done anything wrong so why do we need a lawyer?’ but advice should be taken in all cases. 

What happens at the interview stage has significant consequences for a case. In some cases it can and does lead to unnecessary and avoidable prosecution and conviction. A badly managed interview where the necessary information is not provided can be damaging. Every request for interview has to be considered on its own merits.

It may be thought that it is an unnecessary expense to incur legal costs to deal with interviews under caution. In fact investment in legal advice can lead to huge savings in costs and the avoidance of court hearings. If you are prosecuted and acquitted you cannot recover your defence costs at all if you trade as a limited company and an individual can only recover a small amount, if any at all. So, lack of advice and representation can be a significant false economy.

In many cases an interview with a limited company will be requested and a director will speak on its behalf. However, directors may be asked to attend for interview separately in their personal capacity. This is where it is alleged they may personally have committed offences by permitting an offence or by being neglectful. Such requests for interview also need to be considered very carefully.

Fighting ‘on two fronts’: most transport businesses must also consider another factor when dealing with requests for an interview: the Operator’s Licence. If DVSA or the police conduct any interview its content may be forwarded with any papers to the Office of the Traffic Commissioner for consideration of disciplinary action even if no court case follows. Indeed, it is very commonplace for DVSA not to prosecute but instead simply lodge its file with the Traffic Commissioner that can lead to a Public Inquiry in due course. Accordingly, a business invited to such interviews needs to understand the consequences in relation to possible prosecution and/or Traffic Commissioner action.

For advice and representation in relation to all road transport-related matters please contact Tim Ridyard and Tim Norris in our specialist team.


How can we help?

If you have an enquiry or you would like to find out more about our services, why not contact us?

0333 220 9071

Alternatively, make an enquiry or request a call back by filling out a form.

Updated DVSA Guide to Maintaining Roadworthiness issued

26/11/2018

The Driver Vehicle and Standards Agency has published an updated Guide to Maintaining Roadworthiness version of the Guide to Maintaining Roa......

Automated Vehicles: who’s in charge?

12/11/2018

Further proposals about how automated vehicles will be operated and regulated have just been published in a new Law Commission consultation. It contai......

International haulage permits: important November 2018 deadline (Brexit)

02/11/2018

With precious little time before 29 March 2019 (the scheduled date of UK's departure from the EU) international goods (and indeed passenger) operators......

Ashtons climb in legal guide

31/10/2018

On Monday 29th October the 2019 Legal 500 results were published online. Legal 500 is an independent guide that ranks law firms and solicitors in the......

Road Transport Services

01/08/2018

Read an overview of the Road Transport law services we offer.

Truck Cartel

01/08/2018

Read our guide to claiming compensation.

Public Inquiry

01/08/2018

Read how we can help you if you've been called to a Public Inquiry.

RT @NHSMillion: We will never get tired of sharing this. Please retweet for the people from all over the world that help make our NHS grea…
Government funded electric car chargepoints to be smart by July 2019 https://t.co/EseZ6br3jx @TransportLaw @AshtonsLegal
Thanks very much and best wishes to you too. https://t.co/vXCliT0rrp