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December 2015

Lesley O’Brien talks to local radio station bcb about her life in the haulage industry and shares some of her favourite music.


Click here to play:


July 2015

Freightlink Europe Celebrates 20 Years in Business

FreightLink Europe 20 Year AnniversaryA big thank you to our customers and suppliers for supporting us on our journey.

In celebration we have added to our fleet and updated branding:

  • 2 x Mitsubishi Canters – 7.5 tonne vehicle with 3500 kgs carrying capacity
  • 2 x new Volvo FS500 Globetrotters, bearing the new 20 year celebration livery

Click here to read Volvo Truck’s press release.

Contact Tom or Andrew to discuss vehicle hire on 01274 608900 or email: or

Combatting the driver shortage – A visit Number to 10 Downing Street

Last month Lesley accompanied RHA Chief Executive Richard Burnett to deliver a petition to Downing Street. The petition was to highlight the driver shortage and ask for funding for licence acquisition and to assist younger people to join enter industry.

Supporting Drivers – Migrant Crisis, Calais


As the migrant situation in Calais became more and more volatile Lesley spoke to Liz Green at BBC Radio Leeds to defend the Road Haulage Industry and its drivers. Listen to the interview: (2m 09sec).

Lesley O’Brien, head of Freightlink Europe based in Bradford speaks to Liz Green – ‘We’re talking haulage as fines imposed on haulage firms caught with stowaways hit a record high of £4.2m’


Civil Penalties Code of Practice:

Home office guidance to avoid penalties:

Freight Train Driver CPC module 6 covers Civil Penalties Code of Practice (migrants), customer care, vehicle and driver security.

For more information on this module or any of Freight Train Driver CPC courses, please contact Nicola on 01274 608900 or email


April 2015

Highway Code Update

Increase in LGV Speed Limit

From 00:01hrs on Monday 6th April 2015 the speed limit for Goods Vehicles exceeding 7.5 tonnes will increase to 50mph on single carriageway roads and 60mph on dual carriageways in England and Wales, unless lower local speed limits are indicated.

LGV/HGV Speed limits

Dual Carriageway

What is a Dual Carriageway?

The Highway Code says a dual carriageway is a road which has a central reservation to separate the carriageways.

This can include one lane in either direction.

March 2015

Highway Code Update

Amendment to Rule 96 on driving under the influence of drugs or medicine.


You MUST NOT drive under the influence of drugs or medicine. Check the instructions or ask your doctor or pharmacist. Using illegal drugs is highly dangerous. Never take them if you intend to drive; the effects are unpredictable, but can be even more severe than alcohol and may result in fatal or serious road crashes.
Law RTA 1988 sect 4

Illegal drugs have been specified at very low levels so even small amounts of use could be above the prescribed limit and the active ingredient in the drug can last for a long time.

The limits for certain prescribed and over the counter drugs have been specified at higher levels, above the levels generally found in the blood of patients who have taken normal therapeutic doses.

You can raise a statutory medical defence, if you are found to have a concentration of a drug above its specified limit in your blood because you have been prescribed or legitimately supplied a particularly high dose of the specified medicine, as long as your driving is not impaired by the substance you were taking.

Prescribed and over the counter drugs can be just as dangerous always check label. It may not be obvious if the medicines can cause impairment.


In relation to the above changes Police now have new powers and new kit to test to see if a driver has a drug in their system. The test will now be carried out at the roadside in a similar way to drink drive testing. Drivers may then be put through the Field Impairment Test.

Sixteen legal and illegal drugs are covered by the law, including cannabis, cocaine, ecstasy and ketamine.


The penalties for drug driving are the same as for drink driving. If you are convicted you will receive:

  • A minimum 12-month driving ban
  • A criminal record
  • A fine of up to £5000 or up to 6 months in prison or both
  • A large goods vehicle driver would have to re-apply for their vocational licence
  • A Transport Manager would lose their good repute


February 2015

Change to EU Drivers’ Hours Derogations (UK only)

vosa2 2From 2 March 2015 the journey distance for being tachograph exempt will increase from 50 km to 100 km from the operator’s base.

This amended derogation applies to:

  • Vehicles used to carry live animals between a farm and a market or from a market to a slaughterhouse
  • Vehicles or combinations of vehicles with a maximum permissible mass not exceeding 7.5 tonnes that are used for carrying materials, equipment or machinery for the driver’s use in the course of his work and providing that driving the vehicle does not constitute the driver’s main activity (ie tradesmen carrying goods for their own use)
  • Royal Mail (See GV262)
  • Vehicles propelled by means of natural or liquefied gas or electricity, the maximum permissible mass of which, including the mass of a trailer or semi-trailer, does not exceed 7.5 tonnes


January 2015

Driver CPC Update – Vulnerable Road Users

The syllabus for Driver CPC training is set out in the European Directive 2003/59/EC.

Whilst all courses must comply with this syllabus, individuals and companies have been able to choose courses according to their individual training needs.

Click here to downloadThe Driving Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), which is the competent authority responsible for the approval of training centres and periodic training courses has announced today that it has been asked to ensure that periodic driver CPC training specifically takes account of other road users, particularly those that are vulnerable.

The DVSA has issued guidance for training companies and transport operators – click on the image to the right to download.

Freight Train’s Driver CPC courses continue to promote driver safety and the safety of all road users.

For details of Freight Train 2015 open courses, please click here.

Freight Train video – promoting LGV and cyclist safety (abbreviated version):


Adverse Weather

snowroadThere are ongoing weather warnings for snow, ice, strong winds and heavy rain.

Prepare for the varying road conditions:


Slow Down: Distances are increased by up to 10 times in snow and icy weather.
Plan Routes: Check latest weather conditions and continue to listen to travel bulletins.
Be Prepared: Carry a map – don’t rely on sat navs, carry a snow shovel, de-icer.
Vehicle Check: Be more prudent when carrying out vehicle checks, especially when checking tyre tread, visibility (lights/mirrors – drivers must be able to see and be seen).
Clothing: Carry extra, warm clothing and suitable footwear.
Food: Carry sufficient food and a flask of a hot drink.
Phone: Ensure mobile phones are fully charged.
Gritting Vehicles: Flashing amber beacons usually indicates they are clearing snow – overtaking could mean driving into a hazard.

Highway Code 228, 229,230, 231

WIND vehicles are particularly affected by windy weather but strong gusts can also blow a vehicle, cyclist, motorcyclist, or horse rider off course.  Large goods vehicles drivers should therefore pay particular attention when passing vulnerable road users or on open stretches of road exposed to strong crosswinds.

Slow Down: Strong winds impact on a driver’s vehicle control.
Plan Routes: Check latest weather conditions and continue to listen to travel bulletins.
Curtain Sided Vehicles: When unloaded, drive with curtains secured in open position.
Vehicle Checks: Be extra vigilant when checking that everything on the vehicle is secure.

Highway Code 232, 233


Slow Down: Stopping distances are at least doubled in wet weather – more for heavy goods vehicles!
Drive Courteously: Remember spray from large goods vehicles can impair vision for vulnerable road users and affect their safety.
Vehicle Checks: Pay particular attention to tyre tread depths, visibility (lights/mirrors), demisters, windscreen wipers.

Highway Code 227


Carry out thorough documented pre use checks and report any defects.

Lights can get filthy with all the spray in winter. Keep them clean and check bulbs regularly to be prepared for lower visibility.

Ensure tyres are correctly inflated.

Make sure wiper blades aren’t worn to ensure the windscreen is clean to ensure continued visibility when coping with extra spray, ice and rain.

Drive Safely

Freight Train – Driver CPC approved course ‘Workplace Welfare’ covers safe driving in adverse weather – contact Freight Train on 01274 608900.


October 2014

Clocks Go Back In UK Midnight Saturday 25th October

midnightDrivers – this will mean that UK time is the same as Greenwich Meantime and Universal Time Co-Ordinate (UTC). Therefore an adjustment shall no longer be required when making manual entries onto the digital tachograph.

Clandestine Threat To Drivers Traversing Calais

This month Lesley O’Brien represented the Road Haulage Association in a BBC news interview highlighting the plight of UK haulage industry traversing Calais.

The UK government has pledged £12 million over the next three years to improve border security in both Dover and Calais, but UK hauliers and drivers must play their part in carry.

The current penalty is £2000 per clandestine for both the company and the driver. This amount is currently under review, under threat of being increased!

Companies should comply with the Home Office Civil Penalty code of Practice.

Drivers should ensure strict compliance with the procedures put in place.

For assistance in implementing procedures contact: Freight Train 01274 608900.


August 2014

Driver CPC deadline approaches – don’t risk employing drivers illegally

As the deadline for the Driver CPC approaches (10 September 2014), Freight Train has been forced to add additional dates to meet customer and driver needs.

Actions for operators to stay compliant:

  • Check that all drivers have received their Driver Qualification Card (DQC) and carry it whilst driving.
  • Check that none ‘acquired rights’ drivers (those who took their test post September 2009), took modules 2 and 4 of the driving test and have their DQC – if not they are driving illegally.
  • Add the DQC check to your driving licence check (Traffic Commissioners recommend that licences are checked quarterly)
    • Acquired Rights Drivers – the tick off dates for  DQC card renewal fixed 5 yearly dates – 10/9/19, 10/9/24, 10/9/29…………..
    • For non-Acquired Rights Drivers – the tick off date for card renewal is 5 years from the date of issue of the card and 5 yearly thereafter
  • Items to include on your check list:
    • Driving licence card and counterpart -check issue number matches the issue number on the counterpart, expiry date, driving category
    • Digital tachograph card – expiry date
    • Driver qualification card – expiry date
    • Driver CPC periodic training attended – Freight Train recommends one day per year to remain compliant and ensure continuous professional development
    • Check card issue number matches the issue number on the counterpart, expiry date, driving category

For assistance contact Freight Train – 01274 608900

Is your Operators Compliance Risk Score (OCRS) in jeopardy?


ocrs alertThe DVSA has conducted a consultation with a view to allow the issue of Fixed Penalty Notices (FPN) retrospectively. Currently DVSA can only issue such penalties for current infringements. If the ruling changes, this could have a massive financial impact on drivers, who could see an increase in the number of fines they receive at the roadside. This much quicker, easier and financially beneficial way of issuing penalties also puts an Operator’s Licence risk as FPNs impact on the OCRS, resulting in more roadside stops and the risk of Public Inquiry.

To read more about the consultation view

Of course drivers and operators who always comply with regulations have no cause for concern. Freight Train’s mission is always to assist drivers and operators alike in remaining compliant, through Driver CPC training and consultancy, ensuring that neither the driver’s licence nor operator’s licence are at risk.

Freight Train Golden Rules for Drivers:

Freight Train welcomes new member of the team – Garry Alderson

Garry is an ex-Police Sergeant and law enforcement professional. Passionate about his profession, Garry brings over 30 years’ experience on topics such as road safety, collision investigation, drugs and alcohol field impairment testing and advanced driving.

During the latter period of Garry’s 30 year employment with West Yorkshire Police Garry enjoyed the position of Senior Investigating Officer in the Major Collision Enquiry Team (MCET), dealing with fatal road traffic collisions within the force area.

Garry brings this wealth of knowledge, experience and advice to Freight Train’s driver CPC training courses as well as advising companies on incident collision investigation and prevention.

Garry also presents on road safety education and awareness to school children from the ages of 11 to 18.

Garry is a family man whose hobbies include sport, music, reading and general knowledge.


Check MOT status on line

Vehicle MOT and tax can now be checked on line by using a vehicle enquiry service, inputting the vehicle registration number and make. A search can also be carried out on when the latest V5C document was issued


July 2014

Operators are not required to notify the Traffic Commissioners of isolated prohibitions

operatorsThe Operator Licensing Central Office has announced that Operators are no longer required to notify the traffic Commissioners of isolated prohibitions. However should there be a number of prohibitions within a short period of time or a serious prohibition, then the requirement remains that the traffic commissioner must be advised within 28 days.

The issue for operators is what constitutes a short period of time? Could operators come under scrutiny for not advising the Traffic Commissioner? By advising the traffic commissioner an operator is not only able to provide a documented audit trail of the investigation and any corrective action taken, which may be required at any future Public Inquiry, but is also able to evidence ‘continuous effective management’ – a requirement for all Transport Managers in order to retain their ‘good repute’.

The Road Haulage Association (RHA) is currently awaiting clarification on this point.

REMEMBER: Prohibitions, convictions, graduated fixed penalties all impact on an operator’s OCR score.

For assistance in operators’ licence compliance and protecting the OCR Score, contact Freight Train – 01274 608900

Freightlink Europe sponsors Tour D’Exchange in cycle ride to raise money for charity

On 21 and 22 June 2014 a group of barristers from Exchange Chambers cycled from Liverpool to Manchester to Leeds to raise money for Claire House Children’s Hospice, Francis House Children’s Hospice and Martin House Children’s Hospice. Freightlink Europe was pleased to sponsor such a worthwhile cause and to assist in returning the bikes back from Leeds to Exchange Chambers in Liverpool and Manchester.

‘Dear Lesley and Kevin,

A quick note to say thank you from all at Exchange Chambers for your fantastic generosity in collecting and transporting our bikes back from Leeds to Liverpool and Manchester at the end of Le Tour D’Exchange.

You no doubt get inundated with charity requests and so for you to provide your services to us as virtual strangers is a truly outstanding gesture. It re-affirms what everyone I have spoken to about you says, namely that you truly are lovely and generous people.

A mention also for your staff members, Paul and Tom who were friendly and professional and provided us with an absolutely first rate service.

We are now beyond £22,000 in sponsorship money raised and, with a fair wind, we are hopeful of reaching our £30,000 target.

Many thanks again.

Best Regards

Stephen Connolly



Certified Institute of Transport and Logistics (CITL) annual dinner and awards for excellence

On Friday 20 June 2014 Lesley and Kevin O’Brien were delighted to be invited to join the team at Backhouse Jones Solicitors to celebrate achievement in our industry at the newly finished prestigious Titanic Hotel in Liverpool. It was a delight to celebrate achievement in our industry.

Flexible Working

From 30 June 2014 every employee has the statutory right to request flexible working after 26 weeks employment service. (Before 30 June 2014, the right only applied to parents of children under the age of 17 (or 18 if the child is disabled) and certain carers.

Key Points

  • Requests should be in writing stating the date of the request and whether any previous application has been made and the date of that application
  • Requests and appeals must be considered and decided upon within three months of the receipt of the request
  • Employers must have a sound business reason for rejecting any request
  • Employees can only make one request in any 12 month period

For more information:

June 2014

Children trying to move a large goods vehicle – wearing high visibility vests supplied by Freightlink Europe and the Road Haulage Association.

Truck & Cycle Safety Event

On 7 May Freight Train hosted a truck and cycle safety day at University Academy Keighley (UAK). Over 140 school children from throughout the Worth Valley attended to learn about large goods vehicles’ (LGV) blind spots and dangers on the road. Children trying to move a large goods vehicle – wearing high visibility vests supplied by Freightlink Europe and the Road Haulage Association. Biggest child of all – Lesley O’Brien – sitting on a police bike!West Yorkshire Police also discussed the dangers on the road and the role of the Police. Children were given the opportunity to sit in a police car and on a bike and switch on the sirens. John Dennis, Former Chair, Bradford Cycling Forum, kept the children entertained between sessions with a Top Gear style round the track cycling challenge. Massive thanks to Busoasis who entertained children on their educational bus and kept all helpers provided with tea and coffee throughout the day. cyclesThanks also to the RHA and Nicola Pulford of Freightlink for their attendance throughout the day ensuring the event ran smoothly and everyone was looked after.


The Truck and Cycle Safety day concluded with a debate in the evening. R ‘n B singer Jay Fitz opened the debate with ‘Arms of an Angel’, his drink driving campaign charity single: Lesley O’Brien then showed Freight Train’s truck and cycle safety video, followed by a lively debate attended by:

  • Jack Semple – head of policy RHA
  • Carl Quinn West Yorkshire Police – Major Incident Enquiry Team
  • Ginny Leonard – METRO
  • Ewhen Chymera – Regional Road Safety
  • Tom Jones – Highways
  • Paull Morris – Associate Solicitor, Last Cawthra Feather Solicitors

Contact Freight train for the full 15 minute Truck and Cycle Safety video or for cyclist and truck video or watch the video below. Download Freight Train truck driver and cyclist safety advice by clicking here.


On 9 May 2014 at a luncheon sponsored by Morrisons Supermarkets at the Royal Armories in Leeds, Freight Train’s Managing Partner and business owner, Lesley O’Brien was awarded the Sue Ryder Yorkshire Business Women of the Year Award for 2014. The business sector had over 20 inspirational finalists and Lesley was therefore both proud and thrilled to receive this accolade in recognition of her contribution to the transport industry over 30 years.


In May 2014 the DVSA released a revised Guide to Maintaining Road Worthiness, which contains vital information on how to ensure transport operations remain compliant with regard to vehicle maintenance and workshop standards. The guide gives in depth detail on various issues, but in particular: Vehicle inspection periods: The guidance has been revised to permit operators to arrange for inspections to be carried out within specific ISO weeks, as opposed to on a fixed date interval. ISO weeks are fixed global week numbers.. Weeks commence on a Monday and finish on a Sunday. Traction services and third party trailers: The guidance gives specific guidance for traction operators. Traction only operators need to remember that even though they do not arrange for trailer inspections, they are still responsible for the roadworthiness of the vehicle when on the road. Any prohibition will count again the operator’s own Operators Compliance Risk Score. It is recommended that operators have a system to check the maintenance regime of the trailer operators and that drivers are extra vigilant in their walk round checks. Professionalism in inspections: The guidance strongly recommends:

  • Mechanics have a recognized quality standard for maintenance facilities, working practices and staff competence
  • That a calibrated roller brake test is used at each safety inspection

Particular attention should be made to the safety inspection facilities, which includes the requirement for an ‘adequate under-vehicle inspection facility’ Contact Freight Train for a full maintenance audit 01274 608900

Freight Train’s truck and cycle safety events makes the news: Daytime event – details Evening event – details 1500 – 1600 hours –  cyclists, children come along and experience the truck drivers view 1830 – 1900 hours – networking 1900 – 2045 – The Safety Debate Expert Panel:

  • Road Haulage Association
  • West Yorkshire Police – Major Incident Enquiry Team
  • Regional Road Safety
  • Last Cawthra Feather Solicitors

April 2014

Truck and Cycle Safety Event 7 May 2014 – UAK Keighley

Freight Train has organized a safety event to promote safety for vulnerable road users around LGV vehicles. The event shall take place on Wednesday 7 May at University Academy Keighley (UAK). The event forms part of the 100 cultural build up the Tour de France.   Whilst the haulage industry supports the government’s desire to promote cycling, it is essential that mutual respect and understanding between cyclists and LGV drivers is also promoted. Click here for an overview of the day event and here for the evening event. Drivers and business owners are invited to come along to network and take part in the evening debate.

February 2014 Prosecution for driving without a Driver Qualification Card (DQC)

Transport for London’s industrial HGV Task Force* has this month prosecuted a haulier after one of its drivers was found to be driving without a Driver Qualification Card (DQC).  This is believed to be the first case of its kind. The haulier received multiple fines and the driver received a £400 fine. This case involved a newly qualified driver.  Increasingly Freight Train is coming across LGV drivers, who have passed their LGV driving test post 10 September 2009 and received a driving licence, but have failed to complete modules 2 and 4 of the driving test.  Modules 2 and 4 are the Driver CPC elements, which an LGV driver requires in order to drive professionally.  After completion of these 2 modules, the driver will receive a Driver Qualification Card.  The card is valid for 5 years, during which time the driver must complete 35 hours of driver CPC periodic training in order to receive a DQC for a further 5 years.  This is an ongoing process. It is important that newly qualified drivers understand this process and that operators have a rigorous procedure for not only checking driver CPC entitlement, but the validity of driver licences, digital tachograph cards and Driver Qualification Cards (DQC) Drivers who acquired their vocational licence pre 10 September 2009 benefit from ‘acquired rights’ and these drivers have until 9 September 2014 to complete 35 hours of Driver CPC periodic training in order to receive their Driver Qualification Card.   It should be noted that approved Driver CPC periodic training centres are only approved for to deliver periodic training and not modules 2 and 4 of the initial LGV licence. For further information on either licence checking or the Driver CPC, don’t hesitate to contact Freight Train *Task Force is made up of officers from Transport for London (TFL), City of London Police, Metropolitan Police and the DVSA (DSA and VOSA)

December 2013 Merger of VOSA and DSA

The new name for the merged VOSA and DSA has been announced. The new body will be known as the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA). The DVSA will be responsible for setting, testing and enforcing driver and vehicle standards in Great Britain. The new agency name will be introduced gradually, with the formal launch in April 2014.

Operators’ Licence Financial standing update October 2013

Operators will be assessed to the new financial standing requirement from 1 January 2014 Standard national and international:

£7400 first vehicle (previously £7200) £4100 per vehicle thereafter (previously £4000)

Restricted licence :

£3100 first vehicle (unchanged) £1700 per vehicle thereafter (unchanged)


April 2013 EU Drivers Hours derogations – amendment to ruling on animal waste transport ARTICLE 13.1 (n) Regulation (EC) 561/2006 – vehicles used for carrying animal waste or carcasses which are not intended for human consumption)

VOSA has issued a statement clarifying the UK derogation with regard to the movement of animal waste products: ‘The DFT’s view is that this derogation applies to vehicles transporting animal waste/carcasses from abattoirs and not vehicles carrying any animal ‘derived products’* Various operators have sought to exploit the wording of the derogation by claiming it covers operations carrying products derived from meat processing.  Although the term ‘animal waste or carcasses’ is not defined in either Regulation (EC) 561/2006 or our domestic legislation giving full effect to the Regulation, DFT considered definitions in other relevant EC legislation, together with relevant case law, and has concluded, in relation to these terms, that ‘animal waste’ refers to parts of an animal that are discarded, or are intended or required to be discarded, and that ‘carcass’ refers to the body of a dead animal. Therefore Dft’s view the derogation does not extend to:             (a) Vehicles transporting animal ‘derived products’ which although originally animal waste and carcasses not fit for human consumption, have been processed to make product.  This would include products such as meat and bone meal, tallow etc.             (b) Waste from supermarkets/shops/fast food outlets such as, for example, meat or dairy which has gone past its ‘sell-by date’, waste from subsequent butchery process, or oil which has been used to cook meat’ *‘derived products’ means products obtained from one or more treatments, transformations or steps of processing of animal by-products (defined in Article 3.2 of Regulations (EC) 1069/2009’


The implication is that many animal waste carriers and drivers who previously believed themselves to be exempt from drivers’ hours regulation and thus operated under domestic rules, must now ensure full compliance with EU Drivers’ Hours Regulations –  daily driving, weekly driving, fortnightly driving, daily breaks, daily rests and weekly rests. The further implication of this is that drivers and companies must also be fully compliant with the Road Transport Working Time Directive.   Under domestic rules, drivers had to comply with the average 48 hour week, although they could ‘opt out’ of this requirement and were only required to take ‘adequate’ rest.    As mobile workers under Road Transport Working Time regulations, they must fully comply with working time and breaks.   Drivers must therefore understand how breaks under the Road Transport Working Time Directive and EU Drivers’ Hours are interlinked. Whereas to date the derogation has meant that animal waste carriers have often escaped scrutiny by VOSA, this recent clarification means that operators face an increased number of roadside checks and prosecutions/fixed penalties for drivers’ hours infringements. It is prudent therefore for companies/drivers to invest in training in drivers’ hours training Transport Managers should ensure that they can evidence continuous and effective management and that systems are in place to check tachograph records for drivers’ hours infringements and ensure compliance. Freight Train’s Driver Fundamentals course covers EU Drivers’ Hours, Domestic Rules, mixed driving and the Road Transport Working Time Directive.

April 2013 Under what circumstances is a Driver CPC card not required?

The DSA has released further guidance as to when a Driver CPC Card is not required. The requirement depends upon the vehicle and what the vehicle is being used for: Vehicles that can be driven without a Driver CPC Card:

  • Vehicles being road tested after repair, maintenance or technical development
  • New or rebuilt vehicles that have not been put into service
  • Vehicles limited to a top speed of 28mph

Vehicles uses where drivers do not need the Driver CPC card:

  • When driving for non-ommercial carriage of passengers or goods for personal use
  • When the vehicle is being used to carry material or equipment for use in your job – but driving the vehicle cannot be the main part of your job.
  • When the vehicle is being used for driving lessons for anyone who wants to get a driving licence or a Driver CPC.
  • When the vehicle is used by, or is under the control of the armed forces, civil defence, the fire service and forces responsible for maintaining public order.
  • When the vehicle is being used for a state of emergency or rescue mission

For further exemption guidance click here.

April 2013 Drivers Overnight Subsistence Allowance April 2013

The Road Haulage Association (RHA) has been involved in negotiating revised subsistence rates. The revised rates are:,

  • Without Sleeper Cab: £34.90
  • With Sleeper Cab: £26.20

The above rates are tax free payments a driver can receive for ‘nights-out’ Operators should be aware that although these are agreed rates, operators must still obtain receipts and be able to evidence that the driver has slept away from base. It is recommended that operators are able to evidence a regular documented heck on ‘nights-out’.

April 2013 Is the Transport Manager putting your company at risk?

At a recent meeting of road hauliers, Senior Traffic Commissioner, Mrs Beverley Bell confirmed Transport Managers risk coming under the legal spotlight in 2013 Transport Managers must be able to evidence continuous and effective management in compliance with the Company’s Operator’s Licence Undertakings Transport Managers are always called to give evidence at Public Inquiry. It is alarming the number of companies who disregard the importance of the position of Transport Manager. The role often being filled by employees with another role in the business – drivers, a Director’s wife, or employee with little or no involvement in transport operations. Such Companies are not only putting their Operator’s Licence at risk of being revoked, suspended or curtailed, but put jeopardize the livelihood of all employees and the Transport Manager’s ‘good repute’! Mrs Bell urged all Transport Operators to review their organization:

  • Identify the right person for the Job of Transport Manager – ensure they have sufficient training
  • The person must be empowered to drive through compliance and not be afraid of not being liked
  • The person must have great organizational skills
  • The person must have authority and report to someone in authority
  • There should be a contingency plan should the Transport Manager retire, fall ill, or resign

Companies who feel they are currently not compliant and cannot demonstrate compliance should write to the Traffic Commissioner advising a course of actions. Traffic Commissioners can grant a period of up to 6 months for companies to take remedial action. When did you last look at your Operator’s Licence Undertakings? It should be noted the number of Undertakings where we rely upon our drivers for compliance. Freight Train Driver CPC courses always focus on protecting the Operator’s Licence, Driving Licence and livelihood of all employees through hands on effective training. Freight Train also works with operators to ensure compliance, either through audits and system implementation or implementation of the OPCOM system under licence to Freight Train. Contact us for a without obligation discussion with regard to your Driver CPC training or OPCOM – the behavioural system to evidence compliance and protect companies against risk.

January 2013 Change to standing fees

From 1 January 2013, the financial standing requirements for holders of full operator licences go down to £7,200 from £7,700 for the first vehicle, and £4,000 from £4,200 for every subsequent vehicle. Under the new Access to the Profession Regulation, the figures are adjusted annually, taking into consideration the exchange rate between sterling and the euro. Restricted licence holder rates remain unchanged.

December 2012 O-licence suspended after DCPC failure

A haulier has had its Operator’s Licence suspended as a result of failing to adhere to Driver CPC training commitments given to North East Traffic Commissioner Kevin Rooney. In June 2012 JD Freight of Washington promised Traffic Commissioner Kevin Rooney that a Driver CPC training programme would be in place by the end of October. No training took place and as a result JD Freight’s Operator’s Licence was suspended from 30 November until such a time that the Company could evidence that drivers had completed 7 hours of Driver CPC Training. More and more Traffic Commissioners are using Public Inquiries to enforce driver CPC training. Driver CPC courses on subjects such as walk round checks, drivers’ hours and load security fall nicely in line with Operators’ Licence Undertakings and therefore benefit not only the driver but the operator. All Freight Train’s courses aim to protect the driving licence, Operator’s Licence and the livelihood of all employees.

December 2012 Walkaround Vehicle Checks

The latest edition of VOSA’s Moving On alarmingly reports that 85% of maintenance problems found at roadside checks should have been detected by the driver carrying out a proper walkaround inspection prior to taking the vehicle on the road, or have been noticed by the driver whilst driving the vehicle. Drivers are reminded that the driver is responsible for the roadworthiness of the vehicle whilst on the road. Roadworthiness issues found at roadside inspection can result in a fixed penalties being issued to the driver or a prohibition being placed on the vehicle. Both of these impact upon the Operator’s Compliance Risk Score (OCRS), which can ultimately result in vehicles being stopped more frequently and even the company being called to Public Inquiry. Drivers – ensure that walkround checks are carried out and documented prior to taking any vehicle on the public highway. Remember that such a check should not only be evidenced by the completion of vehicle check form, but the tachograph activity should record other work (crossed hammers). To download our information sheet on Walkround Vehicle Checks click here.

November 2012 European Union Third Directive (EU3D)

‘From 19 January 2013 the European Union Third Directive on driving licences (EU3D) will come into force. The aim is to introduce a single model across Europe and apply common regulations. The new style licence will look different. All vehicle categories will be shown on the back of the licence with dates shown against those the holder is entitled to drive. However, if you have passed a test in a larger vehicle you may still be entitled to drive/ride smaller vehicles of that type which have lines shown instead of dates e.g. holders of full category A would be entitled to ride a category A2 vehicle. Categories you have provisional entitlement to drive are shown on the paper counterpart document. The expiry date of your licence will show on the front in section 4b and the expiry date of your entitlement will show on the back of your licence. Current format photocard and paper licences will remain valid, with the new style being phased in with license renewals and updates. Drivers over 45 will need a completed D4 medical examination report at each renewal of their five year vocational entitlement, and will need to supply a new photograph at every other licence renewal. Drivers aged under 45 will need to sign a self declaration of ‘fitness to drive’ at each vocational entitlement and supply a new photograph at every licence renewal. The minimum age for categories D and DE will increase from 21 to 24 years for non professional drivers. For more information go to‘.

July 2012 Checking periodic training status

Drivers who wish to check that their periodic training has been recorded can do so by logging on to: The driving licence number and home postal code is required in order to request a password. The password will be sent by post to the driver’s home address. It is therefore essential that the DVLA has been advised of any change of address. Once drivers have received the password, they can log onto the site again and obtain details of all approved periodic training attended.

April 2012 Road Transport (Working Time) Directive 2012 Amendment to regulations

On 2 April 2012 the Road Transport (Working Time) Directive Regulations 2005 were amended. The scope of the directive has now been extended to include the self-employed, who have previously been exempt. The Road Transport (Working Time) Directive Regulations 2012 comes into force on 11 May 2012. For further information on how to comply, contact Freight Train. To download our information sheet on the Working Time Directive click here.

March 2012 DVLA advise of digital tachographs card problems

The DVLA is investigating problems with some digital tachograph cards. The following error codes may be displayed:

  • “ERROR CODE 48”
  • “CARD EXPIRED” – When the card has not expired

Drivers who believe that they have a faulty card, should follow the faulty card procedure:

  • Firstly check the card in another tractor unit, to establish that the problem does not lie with the vehicle unit, rather than the card.
  • Advise your transport manager of the problem immediately.
  • Within 7 calendar days return the card to the DVLA along with application form D777B. We understand that if you mark on the envelope ‘code 48’, you will receive priority (if the above code applies). The form is available from the Business Link Website, direct from the DVLA, DVLA offices and VOSA testing stations ( / DVLA 0300 790 6109)
  • Vehicles can be driven for a maximum of 15 calendar days without a card, or longer in order for the vehicle to return to it’s base.
  • Take a 24 hour print out at the beginning and end of the day, recording name, signature and driving licence number on the reverse.
  • Remember to use the mode switch as usual to record activity and to record any manual entries on the reverse of the print out.
  • Print outs must be retained for 28 calendar days and the current day and handed into the operator within 42 calendar days.
  • Operators must retain the print outs for 1 year unless the tachograph is being used for purposes of the Road Transport Working Time Directive, in which case they must be retained for 2 years.


Rogue Driver CPC Training Companies

In today’s economic climate it is understandable, indeed essential, that companies constantly review, analyse and assess their overheads and ensure value and quality of service from all suppliers. Hauliers and individuals should pay attention however that they are not falsely economising in entrusting Driver CPC training to rogue trainers offering substandard training at a low cost. The DSA and VOSA have already warned against companies offering a ‘Driver Qualification Exempt Card’ for a fee. Only specified drivers can be exempt from the driver CPC:

  • Drivers of vehicles with an authorised maximum speed < 45 kph
  • Armed Forces, Emergency Services, Ministry of Defence
  • Drivers road testing vehicles
  • Drivers of vehicles being used for driving lessons
  • Non Commercial purposes
  • Incidental Drivers

The DQC (Driver Qualification Card) is only issued either on completion of initial training or following completion of 35 hours periodic training. This week’s Commercial Motor has reported that, following investigation, The DSA (Driving Standards Agency) has removed Driver CPC Training Approval from the United Road Transport Union (URTU). This has resulted in drivers being advised that the periodic training which they attended has been invalidated and removed from their training record. (Commercial Motor 2 Feb 2012) Companies/individuals should be wary of training companies/individuals who offer cheap training for periods of less than the obligatory 7 hours dictated by the regulations (clause 1.2 A Guide to Periodic Training.); check that the training company is an approved centre, with valid and approved courses –; ask if the centre and training has been JAUPT audited and, if so, ask for a copy of the audit reports. Click here to read Freight Train’s latest JAUPT audit report. Freight Train prides itself in working with companies to ensure that training is not only industry relevant but serves to enhance a company’s existing internal procedures using company documentation when possible and relevant.

December 2011 – Financial Standing

The Traffic Commissioner has issued updated Statutory Guidance and Directions for holders of HGV and PCV Operators Licences, applicable from 4 December 2011. From 1 January 2012 the financial standing that operators must evidence has been amended to:

Licence Vehicles Goods vehicle
Standard First Vehicle £7700.00
Additional vehicle £4200.00 per vehicle
Restricted First Vehicle £3100.00
Additional vehicle £1700.00 per vehicle


September 2011 – Top Tips for Operator Compliance

  • Build a strong information network to keep abreast of legal changes and plan ahead.
  • Create an ethos of compliance among the workforce and external suppliers, communicating expectations through drivers’ manuals and written agreements with suppliers.
  • Prioritise maintenance by respecting service schedules and regularly auditing drivers’ walk-round checks and maintenance activities. (Ensure Service schedules include MOT checks/Calibration/Tax renewal)
  • Plan workloads so that drivers do not feel under pressure to breach drivers hours regulations and vehicle/axle limits.
  • Don’t be complacent – continually audit, monitor and review – learn from mistakes.

(Freight Train article Commercial Motor 29 September 2011)

June 2010 – Renewal of Digital Tachograph Cards

Driver and Company digital tachograph cards are valid for 5 years. They were first issued in July 2005 and some drivers and companies will shortly be required to renew their cards. The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) should issue a reminder and it is important that this reminder is acted upon promptly. Follow the instructions on the reminder and send the application to DVLA at least 15 days before the expiry date. Drivers should note that a reminder would be sent to the address on the licence. What if I do not receive a reminder? Drivers who should check field 4b on the digital tachograph card to verify the expiry date. A form D777B can be downloaded from the DVLA website. Once again the instructions should be followed and the application returned at least 15 days before expiry date. Download form D777B here A new photograph is not needed What if I do not renew my card? Once the card expires the microchip will stop recording driver activity. This means that there will be no record of a driver’s daily work.

Print Outs:

On the last 2 days prior to expiry of the digital tachograph card a driver must take daily activity print outs. The print outs should be made:

  • When taking over a vehicle
  • When leaving a vehicle

What do i do with the print outs?:

Endorse the print outs on the reverse with the following information:

  • Driver licence and/or driver card number
  • Driver’s signature
  • Any manual entries required to show periods of other work, periods of availability, rest and break.

Retain print outs with all manual records for 28 days and the current day Return print outs along with all manual records to the employer within 42 days. The operator must retain the print out for 12 months, or 24 months, if using for record keeping in accordance with the Road Transport Working Time Directive.

What if my card is in the Vehicle Unit (VU) when it expires:

If your card is in the VU when it expires, remove it and insert the new card immediately, or as soon as it is safe to do so. Carry the old card with you for the next 28 days, as evidence of the previous 28 day’s activity.

Use of new digital tachograph card

Prior to using the new digital tachograph card ensure that the ensure that any tape strip is removed carefully, as well as any glue, which may attach the card to the letter. There have been occurences of the strip becoming entangled in the mechanical internals of the card reader rendering the tachograph inoperative Freight Train Low Moor Business Park Low Moor Bradford BD12 0NB

Telephone: 01274 608900 Fax: 01274 608400