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Ask the MAC – February 2024

Every month we get a variety of questions and every month our intrepid Member Advice Centre has the answers.

Going digital 

Q: We have recently purchased a digital vehicle maintenance system and now hold all tacho and maintenance documentation digitally.  Can we transition to digital-only as we move forward, while keeping the physical records we hold for the required period?  

We have had a challenge in the business saying that there must be a paper backup. 

A: There is nothing to state that the system will require physical copies of this information, only that the system is readily accessible and that the records are complete. This will obviously have some implications as you transition to a fully digital system and phase out the paper forms. If there is the ability to scan in and add these historical documents to the vehicle history files, then it can speed up the process. 

Section 4.6 of the GTMR has more information on digital systems and also contains information on the criteria that the system must meet. 
Guide to maintaining roadworthiness: commercial goods and passenger carrying vehicles (publishing.service.gov.uk) 


Rules of the road  

Q: We have recently had to go through disciplinary proceedings for a driver who has incurred infringements. They operate under GB domestic rules, but we analyse their work under EU drivers’ hours rules to match the other drivers on the fleet. Can we do this?    

A. The domestic rules apply to drivers on journeys within the UK who are exempt or excluded from the EU rules. It is not strictly speaking possible to ‘opt’ for compliance with the EU rules if an exemption applies, although a tachograph may be used as an alternative method of record keeping.  

This means that if the exemption applies, or they are not in scope of EU drivers’ hours rules, then they would not be able to have their records analysed under EU rules. 


Sign of the times 

Q. We are currently being taken over by a company in another traffic area and have been asked who can sign the operator’s licence application? 

A. If there is just a change of directors or ownership and no change to the company’s registration number, then the details of the owners and directors would need to be changed at Companies House and a notification made to the Traffic Commissioner to ensure that the directors match the ones named at Companies House. 

If, however, the company registration number is changing, then a new application would have to be completed and signed by either of the following: 

  • Owner 

  • Partner 

  • Director or 

  • Delegated officer of any other organisation (as detailed in Section 6 of the GV79G Application for a Goods Vehicle Operator’s Licence guidance notes) 


Stop! And listen! 

Q. One of my drivers has just asked if Traffic Officers have the right to stop HGVs?  

A. They do! In early 2019, under a new agreement, DVSA and Highways England started working together to pull in in lorries, vans, buses and coaches on West Midlands motorways while sharing Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) data and other intelligence in real time. This has now been extended to the rest of the UK. Highways England can use their marked vehicles to perform the stopping duties previously only performed by the widely recognised DVSA vehicles or the police. 

Rule 108 of The Highway Code states that Traffic Officers have the power to stop vehicles on most motorways and A class roads. If traffic officers in uniform want to stop your vehicle on safety grounds (eg an insecure load) they will, where possible, attract your attention by 

• flashing amber lights, usually from behind 

• directing you to pull over to the side by pointing and/or using the left indicator. 

Law RTA 1988 sects 35 & 163 as amended by TMA sect 6 


Trump card 

Q) Will the driver’s card be able to tell me if the driver has been disqualified from driving or what categories they can drive? 

A) No. Although the card contains the driver’s driver number as a means of identification, the driver card will not provide any driving entitlement information and it is important to understand it does not infer entitlement to drive.  

Your normal driver licence checks should remain in place to ensure you do not cause or permit someone to drive without the correct licence. When vocational entitlement is revoked/refused, on the ‘View or check driving licence’ screens the refused/revoked entitlement would be suppressed and NOT displayed. The licence holder would only see their other entitlements, such as Car/Motorcycle.  


Licence to drive 

Q) Can I employ drivers from the European Union? 

A) EU licence holders living in the UK can continue to use their licence as long as it is valid, subject to UK licence renewal requirements. UK residents with an EU licence can exchange their licence for a UK one, if they wish to do so, without the need for a re-test. 
By law, if you come to live in Great Britain and hold an EU/EEA vocational licence, you must register your details with the DVLA within 12 months of moving here.  
To register you will need to fill in ‘Application to register a non-GB driving licence’ (D9). You can download this application from the website: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/d9-application-to-register-a-non-gb-driving-licence  


Getting up to speed 

Q) One of our LGV drivers has been caught speeding and has been given a fine and penalty points added to their driving licence. As they were in their own car at the time of the offence, do we still need to notify the Traffic Commissioner? 

A) Within the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) guidance for drivers of large goods vehicles, it states the following: 

‘As an LGV driver, your conduct should be appropriate both at work and at other times.  

Drink driving, drug driving, speeding and hand-held mobile phone use pose particular risks to road safety. Traffic Commissioners can suspend or revoke a driver’s entitlement, and disqualify them, if they have been reported for these offences. You should tell your employer immediately if you are found guilty of any new motoring offence. Operators have a duty to report all motoring offences committed in any vehicle to the Traffic Commissioner.’ 

Based on the information above, we would advise that you do notify the Traffic Commissioner in these circumstances. 


A lot on one’s plate 

Q) Hoping you can provide some clarity regarding use of trade plates on light vehicles and HGVs when the MOT or annual test has expired. 

Historic guidance has suggested that this is allowed if you are road testing the vehicle as part of repair or testing purposes. But, after recently viewing the guidance on the GOV website, it states vehicles have to have a valid MOT. However, the guidance notes for use of trade plates do not appear to make this clear. Help! 

A) Within the application for a first trade licence it states that you can only use trade plates on vehicles that are roadworthy, insured and have a valid MOT, or are exempt from needing an MOT. 

However, there is a general exemption from the HGV testing scheme (vehicles over 3.5t maximum authorised mass) for vehicles used unladen under a trade licence. However, no such general exemption applies to those light vehicles subject to the MOT testing regime. 

That being said, a test certificate is not required for a vehicle being taken to a previously arranged test, during the test or being brought away from the test, together with a vehicle being tested by a motor trader during or after repairs to the vehicle. 

Published On: 01/02/2024 14:30:00


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