Legal update July 201606 July 2016

Transport Engineer’s fourth Legal Update page is brought to you by specialist transport law firm Backhouse Jones


In-service ATP

If you own or operate vehicles that transport perishable foodstuffs across international borders, you must have ATP certificates for them (for all signatory countries to the Agreement on the International Carriage of Perishable Foodstuffs).

An in-service inspection can be undertaken at ATP designated stations – at the Refrigerated Vehicle Test Centre, Cambridge, and Conway Bailey Transport, Redruth, or at an operator’s site (by Cambridge Refrigeration Technology staff). First time ATP certificates expire after six years. Replacements are for three years.

New generation digital tachographs

European Regulation 165/2014 mandates the introduction of a new generation of digital tachographs. New units will be required on newly registered vehicles from 2019. They will use a global navigation satellite system to produces location stamps at the start and end of each drive, and at three hourly intervals. They will include wireless to alert enforcement officers to possible manipulation, and will integrate with telematics.

Introduction of AEBS

Under EC Regulation 661/2009, since 1 November 2015, newly registered HGVs over 7.5 tonnes have been required to have Level 1 AEBS (Autonomous Emergency Braking systems) and LDWS (lane departure warning system) fitted. Level 2 AEBS will become mandatory for new types from 1 November 2016 and all new vehicles from 1 November 2018.

Driver CPC

Since 25 January 2016, the DfT has relaxed exemptions to Driver CPC rules for those whose main activity does not involve driving HGVs – such as vehicle technicians. The radius a vehicle can be driven without a Driver CPC holder has increased from 50km to 100km, provided the vehicle is unladen and the driver only drives trucks from “time to time”. Amended regulations also allow HGV drivers to use a truck with an automatic gearbox when taking a Driver CPC practical test.

Online system

The Office of the Traffic Commissioners’ Self Service facility is being replaced with an online system which allows operators to submit applications, upload documents and get help when making applications. OTC staff also gain access to electronic casework management, improved search facilities and Companies House records.


Modern slavery act

This act consolidates offences relating to slavery and human trafficking. UK organisations with a turnover of £36 million or more are required, under Section 54 (since 29 October 2015), to publicly state actions taken to ensure they are slavery free.

Statements have no prescribed form, but must be approved by the board and signed by directors. They must be available on websites and to anyone making a written request within 30 days.

Trade union act

The act came in on 4 May 2016 and introduces several reforms. To validate a strike, at least 50% of membership must now vote. For ‘important public services’ at least 40% of voters must be in favour.

The act also changes timescales. A strike mandate is valid for six months and up to nine if the union and employer agree. Notice periods for industrial action are doubled to 14 days.

Gender pay reporting

2016 sees the introduction of compulsory gender pay reporting for employers in the private and voluntary sector with at least 250 staff. If approved, the regulations come into force on 1 October 2016. However, employers will have 18 months to publish the required information.

Tax-free childcare

From early 2017 a new tax-free childcare scheme will come into force, replacing the Employer Supported Childcare scheme. Eligible working families can claim 20% of qualifying childcare costs for children under five (children with disabilities under 17) with claims capped at £2,000 per child.


Increasing penalties for drivers using hand-held mobile phones

The current fixed penalty for use of a hand-held mobile phone whilst driving is a fine of £100 plus three penalty points. The DfT has released a consultation paper considering increasing the fine to £150 and the penalty points to four for non-HGV drivers and to six for HGV drivers, and those driving PCVs capable of carrying 16 or more passengers.

Earned Recognition

DVSA is developing a scheme that rewards operators able to show exemplary compliance. DVSA will access real-time driver and vehicle data, as well as tachograph, MOT, inspection and maintenance data, etc.

Benefits include reduced or eliminated routine roadside checks. The scheme has been piloted in the South East since October 2015.

Penalties for carrying illegal immigrants

Although operators and drivers can be fined up to £2,000 per illegal immigrant if they do not have effective security systems, the government has set out proposals to strengthen the civil penalty regime.

The aim is to incentivise operators to invest in high quality security. This could be through enhancements to the accreditation scheme, graduated or discounted charging, or faster clearance processes.

Backhouse Jones Solicitors

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