CTC says that Traffic Commissioners (TCs) are often taking too long to investigate goods vehicle operators who are accused of breaching safety regulations. The organisation believes that the issue lies with how TCs find out about infringements in the first place.
Traffic Commissioners (TCs) are responsible for the licensing and regulation of those who operate heavy goods vehicles, buses and coaches. Where the behaviour of an operator may have contributed to a collision, TCs are those who investigate.
Writing on the CTC website, the organisation’s road safety officer, Rhia Weston, argues that a major issue in how they operate is that there is currently no legal obligation for the police to inform them about relevant incidents.
“Traffic Commissioners don’t have the resources to effectively monitor operators and drivers. They are also poorly supported in the delivery of sanctions. Clarifying when and how incidents should be reported would help them keep tabs on operators, although the number of hearings they can hold each year would still be limited.
“Establishing a national body to regulate road use akin to the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB), as recommended in a recent report by the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS), would be an improvement on the fragmented regulatory system in place now.”
CTC are currently following two 2013 cases where lorry drivers were found guilty of killing cyclists and are waiting to see whether further action will be taken against the firms who employed them.
Robert Palmer was jailed for eight and a half years after pleading guilty to two counts of causing death by dangerous driving after driving his lorry into two cyclists who were riding from Land’s End to John O’Groats on the A30 in Cornwall.
CTC say that Palmer should not have been at the wheel that day, that he was extremely fatigued after doing back to back night and day shifts, and they are looking into whether further action will be taken against his employer, Fry’s Logistics.
Barry Meyer was jailed for three and a half years and banned from driving for 10 years after killing a cyclist while driving a tipper truck. Meyer – who had been banned from driving five times and had two previous convictions for drunk driving – was charged with “causing death by driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence.” This means that he did not have a valid licence for the class of lorry he was driving at the time. He was also charged with causing death while driving with no insurance.
The Transport Manager of Allan Drummond, the haulage company that hired Meyer, was due to appear at a preliminary hearing relating to the fatal crash on June 5, but did not show up.
“Operators that don't ensure their employees are legally permitted to drive are as responsible for a cyclist's death as the driver and should be held accountable,” says Weston.