My Best Truck of 2014

IMG_0915.JPG
For me this is the best truck I have seen in 2014. It might not be the newest, it might not be most practical for most of Europe and it certainly won’t be everyones taste but for me, spot on.

IMG_0910.JPG

IMG_0911.JPG
If you live in the UK and haven’t been to one I strongly advise that you make 2015 your first trip to a European truck show, the standard of trucks is amazing. I can’t deny that the trucks here in the UK are getting better and better but the Europeans just seem to have it right, they all look good. To me the best trucks have always been out of reach of what I could afford or achieve and the T560 is no different. We all joke about winning the lottery but a Tcab would be very close to the top of my list. It’s blue, it’s got two sets of pipes, it’s got a subtle custom interior and enough lights to make it look good but not over the top. As with anything I would make a few subtle changes as I’d want to put my mark on it.

IMG_0914.JPG

IMG_0912.JPG
2014 has seen a big rise in the blogs popularity through all mediums, the Facebook page, twitter and the good old fashioned http://www.truckblog.co.uk website. I’m not going to link to any of those this time round as I’m sure you all could do with a break from the ruthless links and plugs for the blog. I have no idea where the blog will be in another 12 months, hopefully you’ll all still send me stuff, photos, info and the odd piece of trucking memorabilia to decorate TBHQ and I’ll keep bugging the TV companies in the vague hope they’ll see that we need Truckblog TV!

Hopefully I’ll be visiting, Truckfest Peterborough, Crowfield Truck Rally, Gathering of the Griffin, Retro Truck Show at Gaydon, more than likely (and hopefully) Truckstar Festival at Assen as my foreign trip, although I have heard on the grapevine that there is quite a convoy of English motors heading to the International Trucker & Country Show held at Interlaken, CH. I have always wanted to go James?? Finally if the offer is still there then I might just make it to Belfast too.

Anyway thank you for following and thank you for making the blog what it is, without your contributions I’m sure you’d all be bored silly of 143’s, MAN TGL LX’s and Mercedes-Benz photos! As we all do secretly say now and again Keep on Trucking!

IMG_0913.JPG

Advertisements

Financial Standing – Twist, Stick or Bust? by Laura Hadzik

IAA HANOVER 27.09.2010 040

The recent Transport Tribunal decision, upholding the revocation of the Operator’s Licence of Reading-based operator, Truckit 247, by Western Traffic Commissioner, Sarah Bell, in November 2011, provides a stark reminder for operators of the potentially devastating consequences for their business should they be unable to demonstrate, to the satisfaction of the Traffic Commissioners, that they are the appropriate financial standing. Truckit 247 was granted an Operator’s Licence, authorising the use of 1 vehicle and 1 trailer, in April 2010, subject to it demonstrating, by the production of 3 months’ bank statements, that it had access to £8,100 (and therefore satisfied the requirement to be of the appropriate financial standing) by October 2010.  Truckit 247 provided bank statements in December 2010; however, these did not show access to the required sum.  Then, in June 2011, the Office of the Traffic Commissioner requested original bank statements for the period from March until June 2011; however, the average balance over the 3 month period was £6,690 (not the £8,100 required).  Truckit 247’s Operator’s Licence was therefore revoked on the basis that it had failed to demonstrate that it satisfied the requirement to be of the appropriate financial standing

The law is clear – the requirement to be of the appropriate financial standing is a prerequisite for obtaining, or retaining, any Operator’s Licence and availability of finance is a continuing obligation; the purpose being to ensure that the operator has sufficient financial resources available to maintain its vehicles in a fit and roadworthy condition, safeguard road safety and compete fairly with other operators, within the constraints of the regulatory regime.  All applicants for, and holders of, Operator’s Licences must therefore be able to demonstrate, to the satisfaction of the Traffic Commissioners, that they are of the appropriate financial standing at the application, variation, Public Inquiry or five-yearly review stage and on an on-going basis.  For some operators, this may mean the difference between obtaining, and retaining, an Operator’s Licence or not, or restrict the number of vehicles that can be operated.  It is therefore essential that operators fully understand the requirements and how they can demonstrate that they satisfy them.

The key test is whether the applicant for, or holder of, the Operator’s Licence has available capital and reserves of an amount equal to the sum specified.  With effect from 1 January 2012, the financial standing levels are as follows:

Standard National &   International Licences

First vehicle

£7,700 (previously £8,100)

Each subsequent vehicle

£4,200 (previously £4,500)

 Restricted Licences

First vehicle

£3,100 (previously £3,100)

Each subsequent vehicle

£1,700 (previously £1,700)

“Available” is defined as “capable of being used, at one’s disposal, within one’s reach, obtainable or easy to get”.  The key questions to be answered are therefore: “How much money can the operator find?” “How quickly?” “Where from?” 

IAA HANOVER 27.09.2010 041

What may be accepted as evidence of financial standing?
EC Regulation 1071/2009, which was implemented in the UK on 4 December 2011, initially allows three ways in which operators can satisfy the financial standing requirements:

  • Certified annual accounts comprising balance sheet, profit and loss accounts and notes on accounts;
  • Certified opening balance for new operators – a properly accredited person can provide a statement of assets and liabilities before they started trading;
  • Financial guarantee.

However, the UK has afforded greater flexibility to operators and the following table provides examples of the evidence
(which the Traffic Commissioners have, historically, taken into account) that may be taken into account for the purposes of demonstrating appropriate financial standing:

Cash in the Bank Perhaps,   unsurprisingly, one of the most reliable ways of demonstrating financial   standing is, and has historically been, cash held in a bank account over a   period of time.  Historically,   applicants/operators have been required to submit bank statements for a three   month period.
Opening Balance It is recognised that, if the applicant is a new business, they may   not be in a position to produce bank statements for a three month   period.  In such circumstances, an   opening balance showing access to the required sum will suffice; however, the   Operator’s Licence will be granted   subject to a finance condition.
Overdraft Facility

 

i.e. if there is a balance undrawn before the overdraft limit is   reached.  NB an offer of an overdraft facility will not suffice.
Invoice Finance Agreements These will only be accepted if accompanied by confirmation of the   available balances not drawn down averaged over a three month period.
Credit Card Account

 

NB where a credit card   account is the only source of evidence, the Traffic Commissioner is entitled   to question why there is no other evidence of banking facilities available.
Debts which are obtainable because they are due and likely to be easy to collect;
Assets  such as property,   plant and machinery, which can be readily sold without any adverse effect on   the ability of the operator to operate efficiently and profitably.
Latest Annual Accounts These will only be   accepted as a substitute for bank statements where they have been certified,   generally only for established and substantial companies with a turnover of   more than £5.6 million.

 JMW’s road transport specialists have unrivalled expertise guiding operators through the financial standing process (whether it be at the initial application, variation, Public Inquiry or five-yearly review stage) and providing innovative solutions to enable operators to demonstrate, to the satisfaction of the Traffic Commissioners, that they satisfy the requirement to be of the appropriate financial standing.

For pragmatic advice and assistance in relation to financial standing, or any other aspect of road transport law, contact Laura Hadzik, a solicitor specialising solely in road transport law at JMW Solicitors LLP, Manchester on 0161 828 1849  or email her at laura.hadzik@jmw.co.uk

 

Miss Lowra’s Law 4 Lorries – Taxing Issues!!

Are all of your LGVs and PCVs Insured or SORN’d? Laura Hadzik from JMW Solicitors gives a little advice;

Scania Black Amber

Since 20 June 2011, it has been an offence to keep an uninsured vehicle (as well as to drive an uninsured vehicle). The new rules mean that any vehicle in your fleet i.e. those in use and those not in use (even if they are parked off-road at the operating centre) must either be insured or declared to be the subject of a Statutory Off Road Notification (“SORN”).

The Motor Insurers’ Bureau (“MIB”) and the DVLA work in partnership to identify uninsured vehicles by comparing DVLA records against those held on the Motor Insurance Database. If it appears that a vehicle has no insurance and is not declared to be the subject of a SORN, the MIB will issue an Insurance Advisory Letter (“IAL”) to the registered keeper, advising them that their vehicle appears to have no insurance and advising them of the steps they must take to avoid a penalty.

If the IAL is ignored and the registered keeper of the vehicle takes no action, they face:

• A fixed penalty of £100 (which will be reduced to £50 if paid within 21 days);
• Prosecution (if the offence continues), where the penalty upon conviction is a potential maximum fine of £1000;
• The vehicle being immobilised, seized or destroyed.

Registered keepers should, however, note that payment of any penalty imposed does not replace the need for the vehicle to be insured or declared to be the subject of a SORN.

What should operators do?

• If your vehicle and/or fleet is taxed and insured, you do not need to do anything until the tax and insurance expire. You should, however, check that your motor insurance details are recorded correctly on the Motor Insurance Database (www.askmid.com). If your details are incorrect, or not recorded, contact your insurance provider to update these details immediately.
• If your vehicle and/or fleet is taxed but not insured and is in use, you are already committing an offence – get insurance immediately.
• If your vehicle and/or fleet is taxed but not insured and is not in use (whether this be for a short period of time for, for example, maintenance or repair, or for a longer period of time whilst, for example, the vehicle is held in reserve), you must either; get insurance immediately OR submit a SORN declaration (together with a refund application in respect of the tax) to the DVLA.

For passionate and pragmatic advice in relation to any aspect of road transport law, contact Laura Hadzik on 0161 828 1849 or 07831 291538 or email her at laura.hadzik@jmw.co.uk

Miss Lowra’s Law 4 Lorries – Falsifying Tachograph Records

Something informative for you to browse through during this week. Keep coming back if you want to read a bit more, as I know some of you weren’t impressed with the lack of photo’s in this feature, but all I can say is tough. This stuff will help you out, so it’s up to you. The help comes in the form of transport law solicitor Laura Hadzik (twitter: @LittleMissLowra), from Manchester solicitors JMW. Laura specialises solely in road transport law and regulation, good news for you lot!

Scania R730

11 HGV Drivers Lose Their Vocational Driving Entitlements
For Falsifying Tachograph Records

Scottish Traffic Commissioner, Joan Aitken, has revoked the vocational driving entitlements of 11 HGV drivers who worked for Boyle Transport Limited (“the Company”), one of Northern Ireland’s largest haulage companies, for falsifying tachograph records.  One driver has been disqualified from holding, or obtaining, a vocational driving entitlement indefinitely and the others for between 18 months and 3 years. This follows Operation Cadillac, one of the largest ever joint investigations by Cumbria’s Road Policing Unit and VOSA, which began in October 2008 when 8 of the Company’s vehicles were stopped in Cumbria on a journey from Glasgow.  5 of the vehicles were seized and found to have modified wiring systems and further investigations revealed that each had had their tachograph equipment interfered with.  This led to the seizure of a further 7 of the Company’s vehicles and a search warrant being executed on the Company’s offices in Newry.  Each digital tachograph owned by the Company had been interfered with and the Company’s drivers had been driving for up to 22 hours per day (up to 12 hours longer than the law permits) and failing to take the minimum required breaks and rest periods.

On 18 February 2011:

  • Patrick James Boyle, 65, and his son, Mark Anthony Boyle, 36, directors of the Company, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to create false tachograph records, admitting that they manipulated and encouraged 15 of the Company’s drivers to falsify their tachograph records.  They were sentenced at Carlisle Crown Court to 2 years’ and 18 months’ imprisonment, respectively, and both were disqualified from acting as a company director, which includes having any management position within a company, for 5 years;
  • 15 of the Company’s drivers received suspended custodial sentences and orders to carry out unpaid work after pleading guilty to creating false tachograph records.  During sentencing, the Court made it clear that, had it not been for the drivers’ assistance of the prosecution, the starting point for their sentences would have been 12 months in custody.

The legislation imposes maximum permitted driving periods and minimum break and rest requirements to protect road safety and provide a level playing field for operators.  False tachograph records (which, at the lesser end of the scale, prevent enforcement authorities from establishing whether or not the particular driver has complied with the driver’s hours and tachograph rules, and, at their most serious, will have been created with the express intention of hiding breaches of the driver’s hours and tachograph rules), are therefore viewed by VOSA, the Police and the Traffic Commissioners as extremely serious! Drivers who falsify their tachograph records will be prosecuted and called before the Traffic Commissioner for regulatory action to be taken against their vocational driving entitlement.   Operators whose drivers flout the rules, or who encourage their drivers to falsify their tachograph records, will also face prosecution and regulatory action being taken against their Operator’s Licence by the Traffic Commissioner.

For passionate and pragmatic assistance, advice and representation in relation to false tachograph records or any other aspect of road transport law, contact Laura Hadzik, a Solicitor specialising in road transport law at JMW Solicitors LLP, on 0161 828 1849 or email her at laura.hadzik@jmw.co.uk

Miss Lowra’s Law 4 Lorries

And now for some thing a slightly different…I thought it was time that we had some thing a little more serious on the blog, to try and help you UK drivers and operators keep on top of our ever changing and increasingly complicated laws and regulations. The help comes in the form of transport law solicitor Laura Hadzik (twitter: @LittleMissLowra), from Manchester solicitors JMW. Laura specialises solely in road transport law and regulation, good news for you lot! The idea is that Laura will try to tell you some thing that may help or advise you, the only downfall being there won’t be any pretty pictures for you to look at, just pure fact! I’ll leave you in her capable hands……

Automatic Termination of Operator’s Licences

Decisions of the Traffic Commissioners and First-Tier Tribunal (Transport) (“the Tribunal”) continue  to confirm that non-payment or late payment of Operator’s Licence renewal fees will result in the automatic termination of your Operator’s Licence unless truly exceptional circumstances exist.

The relevant legislation (namely Section 45(4) of the Goods Vehicles (Licensing of Operators) Act 1995 (“the Act”)) is clear – if payment of the renewal fee is not received by the prescribed date, the Operator’s Licence will automatically terminate at that time. Operators will normally receive a letter from the Office of the Traffic Commissioner at Leeds (“OTC”), reminding them that their Operator’s Licence renewal fees are due to be paid by a prescribed date; however, decisions of the Traffic Commissioners and the Tribunal consistently make it clear that there is no provision in the legislation for such reminders to be sent – they are simply sent as a matter of courtesy.

The obligation to ensure that the relevant fees are paid by the prescribed date is placed fairly and squarely on the operator and, if they are not paid, the Operator’s Licence will automatically terminate.  Operators seeking to argue that their late (or non) payment of the renewal fee is because they did not receive a reminder letter from the OTC should therefore expect no sympathy from either the Traffic Commissioners or the Tribunal; your Operator’s Licence will automatically terminate and you will have no authority to operate vehicles until such time as you have applied for, and obtained, at least an interim grant of a new Operator’s Licence.  As your Operator’s Licence will have terminated automatically, as opposed to having been revoked by the Traffic Commissioner, there is no reason to suppose that the new Operator’s Licence will not be granted; however, any period of in – operation could be long enough to put some operators out of business!

It is open to the Traffic Commissioners and the Tribunal to exercise their discretion to disregard the automatic termination of an Operator’s Licence if exceptional circumstances exist, which justify doing so.  In deciding what is exceptional in this context, the Traffic Commissioners’ and Tribunal’s approach has been to apply the main dictionary definition of the word exceptional, i.e. unusual – the question to be asked is therefore whether the circumstances put forward by the operator by way of explanation for the late (or non) payment merit the description exceptional in the sense of unusual.

The following explanations recently put forward by operators have not been found to constitute exceptional circumstances:

  • In T W Walton & C Walton t/a TW & C Walton Builders, the operator was on holiday when the OTC forwarded the reminder letter to them.  They responded immediately upon their return (albeit after the prescribed date) stating that they wished to continue operating, that non-payment of the renewal fee was due to a genuine oversight on their part and that they had operated vehicles for 30 years without any previous issues.  The Traffic Commissioner and the Tribunal found that there were no exceptional circumstances in this case, pointing out that, even in the absence of a reminder letter from the OTC (which, in any event, were simply a matter of courtesy), the Operator’s Licence discs displayed the expiry date and it was the responsibility of the operator to ensure that payment of the renewal fee was made by the prescribed time; it would therefore be sensible for operators to make a note of this date.  The Operator’s Licence therefore terminated automatically and the operator was required to apply for a new Operator’s Licence.
  • In Christopher James Bishop Green t/a Jamie Green Trucking, the operator was working abroad when the OTC forwarded the reminder letter to him.  He responded immediately upon his return (albeit after the prescribed date) stating that his failure to receive the reminder letter (as he was abroad) had caused the non-payment of the renewal fee. The Traffic Commissioner and the Tribunal found that there were no exceptional circumstances in this case, concluding that, as the primary obligation to make payment of the renewal fee by the prescribed date rests on the operator, he either knew or ought to have known (as the Operator’s Licence expiry date appears on the Operator’s Licence discs and should have therefore been seen during the daily walk round checks) that he would be abroad when the renewal fee fell due; it was therefore up to the operator to make arrangements for the renewal fee to be paid while he was abroad.  The Operator’s Licence therefore terminated automatically and the operator was required to apply for a new Operator’s Licence.
  •  In Michael Welsh Limited, the operator failed to notify the OTC of its change of correspondence address as a result of mismanagement and an oversight on its part.  The operator did not therefore receive the reminder letter from the OTC and did not make payment of the renewal fee.  The Traffic Commissioner and the Tribunal found that there were no exceptional circumstances in this case, pointing out that the onus is on the operator to ensure that the Traffic Commissioner is informed of the up to date position in relation to the correspondence address.  The Operator’s Licence therefore terminated automatically and the operator was required to apply for a new Operator’s Licence.

Once the Traffic Commissioner or Tribunal is satisfied that exceptional circumstances do exist, they must consider whether those exceptional circumstances have caused or contributed to the late (or non) payment of the renewal fee. The final decision for the Traffic Commissioner or Tribunal is whether or not to exercise their discretion to disregard the automatic termination of the Operator’s Licence. Factors which will be taken into account include the operator’s past payment history; and the extent to which the operator has failed to comply with the primary responsibility to pay the renewal fee on time. Factors which will not be taken into account include the fact that the operation of vehicles on a daily basis is essential to the operator’s business.

In light of the above, it is essential that you make a note of your Operator’s Licence expiry date and ensure that the OTC is informed of any changes to your correspondence address; the reality is that, whilst there is no requirement for the OTC to send reminder letters, in many cases payment is, in practice, triggered by receipt of the reminder letter!

For passionate and pragmatic advice in relation to any aspect of operator licensing, contact Laura Hadzik, a solicitor at JMW Solicitors LLP specialising solely in road transport law, on 0161 828 1849 or email her at laura.hadzik@jmw.co.uk