Traffic commissioners can only act on a vocational conduct case when it has been referred to them by the Secretary of State. Referrals to the Traffic Commissioner will have been properly made in the following circumstances:
- For endorsable convictions: by DVLA:
- For non-endorsable offences and third-party notifications: under authority of the Secretary of State
Traffic commissioners are responsible for licensing and regulating operators of heavy goods vehicles (HGVs), public service vehicles (PSVs) and local bus services. They can also take action against drivers of the vehicles.
They can call a formal public inquiry in a court to get more evidence in order to decide to:
- grant or refuse licences for HGV or PSV operators
- take action against a vehicle operator, bus service operator or driver of a bus, minibus or lorry
You may have to attend a public inquiry if:
- someone has objected to your application for a licence or change to a licence
- you have not kept to the conditions of your licence
- there are environmental concerns about a goods vehicle operating centre on your licence
- your conduct has come into question
You will get a formal letter setting out the details of why you have been called to the hearing.
Notice to attend
You will get a minimum of:
- 28 days’ notice if the inquiry is about a transport manager
- 21 days’ notice if the inquiry is about a new or existing goods operator licence
- 14 days’ notice if the inquiry is about a new or existing passenger operator’s licence
You cannot ask for the hearing to be changed to another date, unless you have a good reason but you will have to produce evidence to support this.
What happens at the hearing
You should report to the inquiry clerk as soon as you arrive. The traffic commissioner will then:
- decide whether oppositions should be heard
- listen to the application outline and ask questions about it
- listen to objectors or a Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) traffic examiner outline their cases and ask questions
- ask applicants and objectors to present their cases in detail – they or any of the parties may ask questions
- question applicants on how conditions added to the licence may affect their business
- ask applicants and objectors to sum up their cases
The traffic commissioner will announce their decision at the time, or give it in writing later, this is done within 28 days.
Decision and penalties
If the Traffic commissioner has decided to impose a penalty they can:
- refuse to grant a licence
- refuse to vary an existing licence
- attach conditions to a licence
- grant a licence allowing fewer vehicles than the number applied for
- impose financial penalties on registered bus service operators
- end or suspend an existing licence
- disqualify an individual or a company from having a licence
- disqualify transport managers
However you can appeal against the decision.
Our specialist transport solicitors have the expertise to help with any referrals to the Traffic Commissioner. Contact us on 0800 0463066 for advice