Transport managers face a difficult task. Their work is wide and varied. One of their biggest tasks is the burden of maximising driver efficiency but doing so compliantly. As can be seen from the recent launch of the Earned Recognition scheme there is an ever present goal of reducing the regulatory burden on the compliant and focus on the worst operators with a view to removing them from the industry.

The transport manager’s role is vital to this strategy. The expectations of a Transport Manager are set out in the Statutory Guidance Document 3 paragraph 51 and all Transport Managers should be familiar with that document.

The Transport Manager not only has a contract with their employer but also the Traffic Commissioner as detailed in the TM1.

So what makes a good Transport Manager and what areas did the Traffic Commissioner recently address in the FTA Conference?

As expected many of his observations surround having a well organised system in place to include for example the plan for vehicle MOTS, inspections etc. He also emphasised the need for a paper trail, if something is found to be remiss or fall below what can be expected there should be a recording of this together with evidence of steps taken to avoid the occurrence happening again.

Whilst the law governs the frequency of vehicle downloads the Traffic Commissioner advised that the prudent TM will download the data much more frequently for example on a weekly basis. This will assist if there are any problems that need to be addressed as any driver is likely to remember what happened last week but not three months ago!

The Traffic Commissioner indicated that a good transport manager should have ‘large ears.’ The transport manager should target the weakest drivers and be aware of any family circumstances that may impact on his job. Thus the diligent transport manager should always be aware of drivers’ circumstances and anything that may affect their ability to drive safely. If this is identified it should be recorded appropriately, noting any problems and any measures, remedies put in place.

Transport managers should check the driver’s entitlement and do so regularly, not just at the outset. Developments in technology and software have made this easier with driver licencing checking services.

He pointed out that operator licences should be kept up to date and accurate as there are often discrepancies between the operator’s licences and recordings at Companies House.

The above is a non-exhaustive list of the TM’s duties but rather a summary and a rundown of tips on prudent practice.

Farleys Solicitors are experts in transport law and can tailor legal advice to any transport manager. Get in touch today on 0845 287 0939 or submit your enquiry online.