Traffic Commissioners are responsible for regulating the conduct of professional drivers in the haulage, bus and coach industries. If you are a professional driver, your professional driving licence entitlement is vital in order to continue earning a living.
If you have been called to appear before the Traffic Commissioner at a Driver Conduct Hearing, or Vocational Entitlement Hearing as it can be referred to, then it is important that you have legal representation to fight your corner.
Professional drivers are expected to be fully aware of relevant legislation before undertaking employment as a professional driver and we advise drivers daily upon their legal responsibilities.
You could be called to a driver conduct hearing for the Traffic Commissioner to assess if you are a fit and proper person to hold a licence, at the same time as your employer/transport operator, or separately.
You could be called to a driver conduct hearing for a variety of reasons. You may have committed drivers’ hours or tachograph offences or you might have received penalty points for speeding or for using a handheld mobile phone whilst driving, or other electronic device.
At the Driver Conduct Hearing you will be asked to explain yourself and will need to put forward any mitigation. The Traffic Commissioner will need to hear fully from you or your advocate. You may wish to instruct us as your advocate or alternatively we can make written representations on your behalf to the Traffic Commissioner prior to the hearing.
We regularly represent at Driver Conduct Hearings where vocational drivers have committed road traffic offences but also more serious offences, such as drink driving.
Penalties arising from a Driver Conduct Hearing
In deciding whether a driver continues to meet the test of “fitness”, Traffic Commissioners nowadays have regard to the Senior Traffic Commissioner’s Statutory Guidance and Directions. It is not uncommon for Traffic Commissioners to take action against a driver. Penalties can range from a formal warning through to a suspension or revocation of the professional licence, so it is important that you are properly represented and the Traffic Commissioner is appraised of all of the facts of your case.
According to the Guidance and Directions, use of a handheld mobile phone whilst driving has a “starting point” which is suspension of the vocational entitlement for 14 days. However, if the offence is committed in a commercial vehicle the starting the point increases to 21 days. If a driver has deliberately falsified tachographs, then the licence will usually be suspended on a sliding scale, depending upon the number of false records for which the driver has been prosecuted and convicted.
Drivers will usually be called before the Traffic Commissioner to attend a Driver Conduct Hearing after their matters have been dealt with by the Criminal Courts. At Rothera Sharp we understand that appearing at a Driver Conduct Hearing can be a daunting prospect so contact us first for legal advice and proper legal representation to help reduce the stress.
Need Legal Representation – Driver Conduct Hearings
Please call our Specialist Road Transport Lawyers on Freephone 0800 088 6280 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Alternatively, please visit www.keepmeontheroad.co.uk our website for transport professionals.