A Traffic Commissioner Public Inquiry is a type of court hearing. You can be called to a Public Inquiry if you hold a goods vehicle or PSV operator’s licence, or are applying for a new one. At the Inquiry, the Traffic Commissioner will wish to explore any concerns they have about you, or the way your O licence is being managed. At the end of the Inquiry, the Traffic Commissioner can choose to sanction your licence or even revoke it if they have grounds to.
Common reasons to be called to a Traffic Commissioner Public Inquiry include:
Some of the more common reasons to be called to a Public Inquiry include:
- Not maintaining your vehicles properly
- Allowing tachograph and drivers hours offences to take place
- Concerns over your good repute, including criminal convictions and poor conduct
- Not having enough money (financial standing) to be able to repair your fleet if needed
- Not keeping proper records
The Traffic Commissioner can call a Public Inquiry into both HGV operator licences (goods vehicles) or PSV operator licences (buses and coaches). They can also call a Transport Manager to a Public Inquiry.
What happens during a Public Inquiry?
Before the Inquiry, the Traffic Commissioner will want you to hand over your transport records and recent bank statements for inspection.
At the stage of the Inquiry the Traffic Commissioner will question you at length about the problems identified in the call-in letter. If there are any problems with your records, they will want to ask you about these. They will also want to explore what steps you have taken to fix any problems. For example: have you taken any additional training?
If you are being represented at the Inquiry by a transport lawyer, they will make legal arguments on your behalf. They will help you to explain what happened, and what positive action has been taken. Before the Inquiry, they will usually have worked with you to fix any problems and to get your business back on track.
If the Public Inquiry has been called following a DVSA investigation, the Traffic Commissioner may ask the DVSA investigating officer to attend to be asked questions.
Possible Public Inquiry Outcomes
After hearing your explanations, the Traffic Commissioner will either make a decision there and then, or will send you a written decision shortly afterwards. The Traffic Commissioner can:
- Decide not to take any action
- Issue you with a formal warning
- Attach conditions on your licence which you must comply with (undertakings)
- Reduce the number of vehicles you are allowed to operate (a curtailment)
- Order you to stop operating for a period of time (a suspension)
- Revoke your licence altogether
- Forbid you from holding or applying for a licence in the future (a disqualification)
Many people who are summoned to a Public Inquiry with the Traffic Commissioner can find the entire process very stressful. It can be a very anxious time. It can help to discuss your case on the telephone with a transport lawyer. For a free initial consultation, call one of our transport lawyers on 0115 910 6218 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are always happy to help and will treat all calls in complete confidence.
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