Page 27 - Commercial Vehicle Engineer - November 2018
P. 27

GRT is a transport and training organisation specialising in road transport legislation and regulation, offering a range of operator licence compliance services and operating across Scotland and the north of England.
In conjunction with Transport News, GRT presents this regular Q&A column dealing with compliance and legislation issues relating to road haulage. Readers who have any queries can call 0141 237 6950, visit
or post questions on our Facebook page, @GRTConsultants.
Q Oneofourvehiclesispresently SORN whilst we consider replacing it. However the tachograph calibration is
due for expiry soon. Are we committing an offence by not renewing it on time?
A Whilstthevehicleisoff-road,itisat your discretion whether you renew
the calibration in line with the expiry date. The published tachograph legislation explains that ‘operators must ensure... requirements are complied with before a new or used vehicle goes into service’.
However, before it goes back on the road, it must be recalibrated as it is an offence to drive one in public otherwise. It is permissible to drive the vehicle without calibration from its place of storage to an Approved Tachograph Centre for a pre- arranged booking.
Tachograph calibration is assessed during annual testing; if the calibration has expired, it would be grounds for failure.
Q Can you be penalised at the roadside if you don’t have a hand
torch in your cab?
A Youcannotbeissuedwitha prohibition notice for not carrying a torch in your cab; however the chances of
identifying prohibition worthy issues are reduced without one.
If stopped by DVSA at the roadside, especially in the winter months, the examiner may enquire whether you have one and if not, how you were able to perform a thorough enough daily walk- round check during hours of darkness.
Furthermore, the Guide to Maintaining Roadworthiness recommends that a torch may be needed to perform adequate
safety checks.
Best wishes to all readers for the festive period. Bookings made by readers in December will receive a 10% festive discount on all courses booked online.
You can see our course dates at www. Select your course, click ‘Book Now’ and simply enter the coupon code TN2019s.
Q I am an owner driver, but recently a relative has been driving my truck
and has been invoicing me for his services. However a friend has advised me that this may not be legal. Could you clarify?
A Thishasbeenasubjectofmuch attention over recent times. Many driving agencies have been
found to promote the practice of drivers establishing their own limited companies and invoicing for their services. Whilst also not in the interes t of the driver who loses the bene ts of employee status, these arrangements are in breach of legislation relating to ‘disguised employment’.
There are certain occasions where these arrangements are legal but, broadly speaking, someone is only genuinely self- employed if they are an owner driver who has full control and responsibility for the vehicle, its maintenance and its licensing.
Traf c Commissioners across the UK have been vigilantly policing operators in their jurisdictions and we have seen this issue being discussed at Public Inquiry as it drills at the ‘fair competition’ pillar of the operator licensing system.
We recommend that you consider registering your relative as an employee of your business, paying the necessary insurance and tax; otherwise you are running the risk of regulatory action.
Q Occasionally,werequiredrivers’ to drop solo tractor units at some
of our other sites. Would a driver with a class 2 (category C) licence be able to drive these?
A There is often a lot of erroneous information that circulates
suggesting that the  fth wheel must
be removed for this to be legal; but to con rm, it is permissible to move solo tractor units around on a category C licence which allows the driver to operate rigid vehicles of any size. No removal of the  fth wheel is necessary.
A category C+E licence is only required if a trailer is to be attached to the unit.
We close down for a fortnight
As per the undertakings of your operator licence, you are expected to inspect vehicles at the intervals agreed at the point of application.
Good practice would be to ensure that the vehicles continue to be maintained within the maintenance schedule. This would mean presenting the vehicle for an earlier than usual inspection on the next round.
Alternatively, it may be prudent to inspect the vehicles prior to any shut down and revise the maintenance schedule accordingly.
over the festive period and during this time, we have two inspections due on vehicles in our  eet. We were going to complete these when we return in January but where would we stand if DVSA were to inspect our records?
There is no issued guidance from
DVSA on the correct procedure should an operator miss a scheduled inspection.

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