The traffic commissioner for London and the South East has criticised a lack of knowledge and professionalism among transport managers called by him to public inquiry (PI) after their companies have fallen foul of the law, and contrasted their failure to keep up-to-date with the legal requirement for drivers to undergo continuous training.
Writing in the traffic commissioners’ annual report for 2014-15, Nick Denton said that transport managers attending PIs: “typically have not bothered to attend training since they qualified 20 or 30 years ago.”
This lack of knowledge of current legislation and best practice resulted in failures of legal compliance and lead to the summons to PI. Mr Denton contrasted this attitude with that of those transport managers that he met at training events run by industry bodies, who were: “bright, dynamic, and keen to develop themselves professionally by undergoing regular training.”
Mr Denton pointed out that: “it was an anomaly that, while drivers are now legally required to undergo 35 hours of training every five years, there is no similar requirement for transport managers.”
Good transport managers would, Mr Denton said, “take their continuous professional development seriously. But too many cannot be bothered, taking pride in being ‘old school’ (too often just a synonym for useless).”
He concluded with a word of warning for the employers of such individuals.
“If you are an operator with one of these transport managers, please get them trained urgently, get someone else, or just surrender your licence to me now.”
Mr Denton also raised concerns about holders of restricted operator licences, too many of which he said signed up to abide by the laws on drivers’ hours and vehicle operation: “without actually knowing what the laws are or troubling to find out.
“I have boiled the requirements of a restricted licence into a simple list of commandments on one sheet of paper which I intend to give to all applicants in future, with instructions to nail it over their bed and check before going to sleep every night that they are doing what they need to do,” he said.