Each year there are around 3,000 drivers who are called to appear in front of the Traffic Commissioner for driver conduct hearings.
Conduct hearings are like a court hearing where the driver can be questioned about the allegations made against them and what has been done to try and rectify the issues.
Drivers that hold a vocational licence are regulated by the Traffic Commissioners in the UK.
Reasons that a conduct hearing maybe called may include the following:
- Using a mobile phone when driving
- Overloaded vehicles
- Roadside prohibitions
- Drivers’ hours and tachograph offences
At the conduct hearing the Traffic Commissioner can:
- Give a warning
- Suspend your licence
- Revoke your licence
- Make you resit your vocational driving test
Below is a recent case that has been in a conduct hearing:
The Case A HGV driver is convicted of 14 offences of falsification after DVSA investigations revealed serious offences were hidden by false records.
To give one example, a vehicle was stationary for only 7 hours and 47 minutes between two full shifts of a single driver.
The evidence In this case, the offences have been proven in court. DVSA’s evidence from the investigation is also considered by the Traffic Commissioner.
The driver gets an opportunity to put his case forward. He says he thought the card could be removed if the vehicle wasn’t being used for hire or reward.
He admits taking the tractor unit home on occasions, which was when he removed the card.
The balancing exercise Mr Rooney (The Traffic Commissioner) does a balancing exercise, weighing up the positive and negative features of the case.
He says the driver has started to learn from the enforcement and regulatory processes. He accepts the driver’s evidence that there’s been no further offending since the investigation.
And the driver was co-operative with DVSA.
The starting points Statutory guidance helps the commissioners to deal with driver conduct cases. It tells them the agreed starting points for different types of offending by drivers.
In the case of false records, the starting point for pulling the card (for more than six offences) is revocation and disqualification for 12 months.
Mr Rooney assesses whether there’s any reason to move away from the starting point.
He says the driving was excessive to the point where it was, at times, clearly dangerous. The driver chose to hide the true facts of his driving, regardless of the motivation.
But this is balanced against the co-operation and learning that’s taken place.
The decision The Commissioner issues his decision.
Weighing up the evidence, he decides there’s no reason to move away from the starting point.
The driver’s professional licence is revoked and he’s disqualified for 12 months.
This case gives a great example of what does happen when you are not compliant.
When going to the a conduct hearing you may want to consider having some representation.