The Traffic Commissioners for Great Britain have published their annual report for 2019-20.
In the report, the commissioners:
- outline the approach they have taken to assist operators during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic
- provide an update on progress against their strategic targets
- report on their observations from the past year of regulating the road transport industries
- give their thanks to critical workers in the road transport industries, OTC staff, and DVSA staff for their hard work during the pandemic
Read the traffic commissioners’ annual report for 2019-20
Response to the COVID-19 pandemic
A large part of the report is dedicated to the flexible and pragmatic measures put in place to support and regulate the road transport industries during this difficult period. The report recognises our reliance on safe and reliable transport during the lock down period and the efforts of operators, transport managers, drivers and OTC staff.
The topics covered in this section include:
- a change in regulatory approach proportionate to the circumstances of the pandemic
- issuing practical advice for operators
- helping to ensure vehicle safety during lockdown
- working out a way of carrying out compliance checks
- working to introduce virtual training and remote audits
- supporting bus operations
Statistics for the year
The report contains the Office of the Traffic Commissioner’s stats for 2019-20. This covers both its licensing and regulatory functions.
Some of the key stats for the year are:
- 11,803 operator licence applications and variations processed
- 15,640 local bus registrations processed
- 1,541 public inquiries
- 318 preliminary hearings
- 17,937 driver conduct cases closed
Read ‘Traffic Commissioners for Great Britain publish 2019-20 annual report‘
The traffic commissioners (TCs) have announced an end to maintenance inspection interval relaxations from 1 September 2020. This is covered in the latest updated to their advice for operators during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The traffic commissioners had agreed a risk-based approach during the COVID-19 pandemic where operators unable to access maintenance facilities could extend the usual maintenance intervals for their vehicles. As restrictions begin to lift, the commissioners have taken the decision to end this policy.
The update issued on 30 July 2020 also covers:
- an extension of temporary local bus service processes until 4 January 2021
- an increase in the notice period for service variations for Local Authorities from 24 hours to 72 hours in England and Scotland
- amending a registered local bus service to become a school or works bus service
- the use of additional vehicles on services
Read more about the latest updated to the traffic commissioners’ COVID-19 advice for operators
Extension of expiry dates
Most professional lorry and bus drivers must complete 35 hours of periodic training every 5 years to maintain their Driver Certificate of Professional Competence qualification. This is evidenced by a Driver CPC card.
The card is sometimes called a ‘driver qualification card’ or ‘DQC’.
The validity of DQCs with expiry dates from 1 February 2020 to 31 August 2020 has been extended by 7 months. If the expiry date on your card is in this period, you should add 7 months to that date to calculate the new expiry date.
A DQC with an expiry date of 1 February 2020 is now valid until 1 September 2020.
A DQC with an expiry date of 1 July 2020 is now valid until 1 February 2021.
You will not be issued with a new card to reflect the new expiry date.
You must continue to carry your DQC.
Periodic training – DQC with an expiry date from 1 February 2020 to 31 August 2020
The 7 month extension to the validity of your DQC gives you an extra 7 months to complete your 35 hours of periodic training. You have 5 years and 7 months from the date your current CPC became valid to undertake this training.
Your DQC validity has been extended from 30 June 2020 to 31 January 2021. This means periodic training undertaken from 1 July 2015 counts towards the 35 hours of training you must complete by 31 January 2021 to renew your DQC.
DQC with an expiry date from 1 September 2020 to 30 September 2020
On 31 March 2020 DVSA gave notice that, subject to review, it did not intend to carry out enforcement action against drivers from 1 September 2020 to 30 September 2020 if their DQC expired during this period.
This gave these drivers up to 29 extra days to complete their periodic CPC training, if this was disrupted due to COVID19.
This notice has been rescinded and enforcement action will be carried out from September in relation to DQCs expiring after 31 August, as there are now enough periodic training courses available for drivers whose DQC expires in September 2020 to renew their DQC before then.
If your DQC expires from September 2020, you must not drive until it is renewed. You could face a £1000 fine if you drive without a valid DQC.
Where this applies
All EU countries are obliged to recognise the extension of your DQC. You must carry your DQC when carrying out international road transport.
Training is available remotely from commercial providers, via online video platforms. The department encourages drivers to continue to undertake training wherever possible, but not as an activity that needs extra travel and only in compliance with general government advice.
Details of all approved periodic training are on the JAUPT website.
Check your training record
You can find out here how much periodic training you’ve already completed.
Never held a Driver CPC but has acquired rights, or Driver CPC expired before 1 February 2020
If you have never held a Driver CPC and have ‘acquired rights’, or your Driver CPC expired before 1 February 2020, you can complete 35 hours of periodic CPC training to get your Driver CPC.
Some periodic CPC training is currently being delivered remotely.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
England’s roads are becoming busier as people begin to return to the roads.
Commercial drivers are being advised to take extra care and remember many drivers on England’s roads have not used their vehicles since the lockdown.
If you are a lorry, bus or coach driver you should continue to:
- stay alert to those around you, especially in blind spots
- carry out your walkaround checks to ensure your vehicle is roadworthy
- check the position of mirrors
- make sure your loads are secure
- follow the Highway Code advice for your type of vehicle.
It is in everyone’s interest to keep the roads as safe as possible over the coming days and weeks.
Thank you for your vital work keeping the country fed and supplied, or ensuring those who cannot work from home get to their workplaces.
Keep up to date with all official government advice on coronavirus (COVID-19) at GOV.UK
Vehicles due for test in June will receive a three month exemption from needing an annual test.
This applies to vehicles which received a three month exemption in March, as well as those with a due date normally in June.
In an open letter, HSE and DfT have reminded businesses of their duties to drivers under the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992. Those regulations require business to provide suitable toilet and hand washing facilities to drivers visiting their premises.
In their letter, HSE and DfT remind businesses which make or receive deliveries that they must ensure that drivers have easy and safe access to toilets and hand washing facilities.
The Traffic Commissioners for Great Britain welcome this letter. Britain’s delivery drivers do vital work and their health must be protected.
Traffic commissioners can consider any breaches of relevant health and safety legislation when taking regulatory action against an operator.
We encourage all operators to read the letter and the guidance it accompanies.
The government has temporarily suspended the need for a D4 medical when renewing driving entitlements.
D4 medical suspension
With NHS staff rightly focused on the nationwide response to COVID-19, the government is taking action to protect essential supply chains by making temporary provisions for commercial drivers aged 45 and over, to forgo the need for a D4 medical in order to renew their driving entitlement.
This change is temporary and will only apply where the driver does not have any existing notifiable health conditions, and their licence has not expired before 1 January 2020. The licence will only be valid for 1 year instead of 5 years and the driver will need to submit a completed D4 when the licence is due for renewal in 12 months.
Drivers will still be required to self-declare any medical conditions that may affect their ability to drive. Those with health issues that prevent them from driving safely will not have their licence renewed. All drivers must ensure they are medically fit to drive.
More information can be found on GOV.UK
Motorway services are open
Motorway and major trunk road services remain open 24 hours a day following advice from the government deeming them as ‘essential services’.
The welfare of commercial drivers is a priority. While some service stations have reduced their opening hours, fuel, toilets, food and drink remain available at all service stations 24 hours a day.
Drivers can plan their break stops by visiting the Highways England website, which is updated 7 days a week.
Driver hours relaxation extended to 31 May
As part of the government’s effort to keep supply chains moving throughout the coronavirus outbreak, the Department for Transport has authorised an extension to the existing relaxation of the drivers’ hours rules.
The extension means that the temporary relaxation previously due to end on 21 April will continue until 23:59 on 31 May 2020. This extension does not apply to the previous relaxation on break requirements.
Driver safety remains a priority for the government and drivers should not be expected to drive whilst tired.
Employers remain responsible for the health and safety of their employees and other road users.
Keep up to date with all official government advice on COVID-19 at GOV.UK.
Use this scheme if you’re self-employed or a member of a partnership and have lost income due to coronavirus.Published 26 March 2020From:HM Revenue & Customs
- Who can apply
- How much you’ll get
- How to apply
- After you’ve applied
- Other help you can get
This scheme will allow you to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of your trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for the next 3 months. This may be extended if needed.
Who can apply
You can apply if you’re a self-employed individual or a member of a partnership and you:
- have submitted your Income Tax Self Assessment tax return for the tax year 2018-19
- traded in the tax year 2019-20
- are trading when you apply, or would be except for COVID-19
- intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020-21
- have lost trading/partnership trading profits due to COVID-19
Your self-employed trading profits must also be less than £50,000 and more than half of your income come from self-employment. This is determined by at least one of the following conditions being true:
- having trading profits/partnership trading profits in 2018-19 of less than £50,000 and these profits constitute more than half of your total taxable income
- having average trading profits in 2016-17, 2017-18, and 2018-19 of less than £50,000 and these profits constitute more than half of your average taxable income in the same period
If you started trading between 2016-19, HMRC will only use those years for which you filed a Self-Assessment tax return.
If you have not submitted your Income Tax Self-Assessment tax return for the tax year 2018-19, you must do this by 23 April 2020.
HMRC will use data on 2018-19 returns already submitted to identify those eligible and will risk assess any late returns filed before the 23 April 2020 deadline in the usual way.
How much you’ll get
You’ll get a taxable grant which will be 80% of the average profits from the tax years (where applicable):
- 2016 to 2017
- 2017 to 2018
- 2018 to 2019
To work out the average HMRC will add together the total trading profit for the 3 tax years (where applicable) then divide by 3 (where applicable), and use this to calculate a monthly amount.
It will be up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for 3 months.
We’ll pay the grant directly into your bank account, in one instalment.
How to apply
You cannot apply for this scheme yet.
HMRC will contact you if you are eligible for the scheme and invite you to apply online.
Individuals do not need to contact HMRC now and doing so will only delay the urgent work being undertaken to introduce the scheme.
You will access this scheme only through GOV.UK. If someone texts, calls or emails claiming to be from HMRC, saying that you can claim financial help or are owed a tax refund, and asks you to click on a link or to give information such as your name, credit card or bank details, it is a scam.
After you’ve applied
Once HMRC has received your claim and you are eligible for the grant, we will contact you to tell you how much you will get and the payment details.
If you claim tax credits you’ll need to include the grant in your claim as income.
Other help you can get
The government is also providing the following additional help for the self-employed:
If you’re a director of your own company and paid through PAYE you may be able to get support using the Job Retention Scheme.