You have received a letter from the Office of the Traffic Commissioner giving you notice of a virtual public inquiry and need to prepare your case. Our principal road transport lawyer, Martin Smith, answers some of the questions often asked by clients preparing for a virtual hearing.
What is a virtual Public Inquiry?
A virtual Public Inquiry is a hearing conducted over a video link. As you will not need to physically attend the Office of the Traffic Commissioner, it is a safer way for the Public Inquiry to be heard during the COVID-19 pandemic.
How do I prepare for a virtual Public Inquiry?
The first thing to do is to read the letter which you have received from the Office of the Traffic Commissioner carefully. It may ask you to submit copies of your records electronically and several days in advance of the hearing. It will also set out other instructions which you must comply with.
Do not leave it until the last minute – start to gather your records together in a timely fashion so that you will be able to meet the deadline. It is also a good idea to ensure that you can operate the video link software which will be used during the Public Inquiry.
Why does the Traffic Commissioner want to see my records?
The Traffic Commissioner will wish to see your records to establish whether you are operating your vehicles in a safe and legally compliant way.
What records will the Traffic Commissioner want to look at?
The letter informing you of the date of the Public Inquiry will also list the records which the Traffic Commissioner wishes to see. These may relate to issues such as maintenance planning, defect identification and rectification, the analysis of tachograph data, licence checking and the training and disciplining of staff.
What should I do if my records are not complete?
Once you have gathered your records together it will be easier to see if they are up to date, or whether there are any gaps or any other problems. It is likely to make a better impression if you have been able to identify areas for improvement prior to the Public Inquiry and take steps to fix any issues which you have found.
What are the powers of the Traffic Commissioner?
It is important that you do not treat the Public Inquiry less seriously simply because you are appearing by a video link. The Traffic Commissioner has wide-ranging powers which include the ability to revoke your operator’s licence. It is essential that you seek professional representation and prepare for the Public Inquiry very carefully.
How can Vienna Kang Advocates help?
Preparing for a Public Inquiry will often be a stressful experience, especially for those who have not been to a hearing with a Traffic Commissioner before.
At Vienna Kang Advocates we recognise that the prospects of obtaining a favourable outcome will, for many businesses, often depend on the actions taken in advance of the hearing.
Our specialist road transport lawyers can look at your records and identify issues which will be of concern to the Traffic Commissioner. We can very quickly establish whether your business is regulatory compliant and help you take urgent steps to improve your prospects of success.
Please contact our Principal Road Transport Lawyer, Martin Smith, for a free, no-obligation, confidential chat to see how we can help you on 07494 144 731 or get in touch with him by email M.Smith@viennakang.co.uk.
Martin Smith is a member of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport and possesses the Certificate of Professional Competence for Transport Managers in Road Haulage. Martin provides advice to businesses in connection with:
- Police and DVSA investigations and interviews
- Prosecutions for road transport offences
- Traffic Commissioner’s Public Inquiries