This week we have been reminded of why compliance is such an important issue. The media has been reporting on the disqualification of a driver in Scotland after investigators found 39 instances when he had removed his tachograph card illegally.
As a consequence, the regulator dealt with the driver’s former employer by cutting the company’s licence back to 22 vehicles for eight weeks starting this Friday. The traffic commissioner attributed the cause for the oversight to rapid expansion of the haulier business, which had “generated heat within the traffic office” leading to a failure to ensure compliance.
This case highlights the very real need for haulage businesses to have compliance as a number one priority. It explains why the DVSA has announced that it intends to launch a trial scheme this year targeting enforcement at operators that can’t provide open access to their records and maintenance programmes.
The new approach will hinge on next generation enforcement whereby firms that sign up for its ‘Earned Recognition’ status, which it admits is still in the early stages, must provide the agency with tachograph, MoT and servicing data. The objective is for the DVSA to then gauge how compliant a fleet is, freeing up resources to pull unknown and likely less compliant HGVs at the roadside.
The DVSA is aiming to roll it out during the 2015/16 financial year and despite the scheme initially being voluntary, it is likely to be popular as real business benefits can be realised for compliant hauliers, with reduced downtime from roadside stoppages.
With the introduction of next generation enforcement we may see more cases like the one in Scotland as DVSA checks get more precise. The rules of the game are changing and it can only be a positive thing for the industry.