Institute of Transport Administration

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20 Sep 2019

Agreement between existing operator and licence applicant revealed payments for borrowed vehicle disc

Pay close attention to your licence discs and you’ll see there’s a clear statement on the back of each one. It says ‘not transferrable’.

This means only you have the right to operate under your O licence.

Control of the vehicles and drivers running under your licence shouldn’t be given to anyone else. We know there are external pressures, including from customers, but these can’t override your responsibilities as an operator. Or the separate legal duties of your transport manager.

The same goes for licence discs too. They can’t be shared with other businesses, as this recent case before the Traffic Commissioner, Richard Turfitt, shows.

What happened?

DVSA encountered a vehicle displaying a disc which wasn’t in the name the business operating the vehicle. The firm didn’t have its own O licence.

It turned out they had an agreement with an existing licence holder to lend one of their licence discs.

The operator charged a daily fee for the licence disc and also took money from the other business to cover the financial standing requirement.

Both parties were eventually convicted for the licence lending.

What did the operators say?

The licence holder said he’d made enquiries about whether it was legal to allow another operator to lend his licence for a fee. He believed it was.

After the DVSA encounter, the operator removed the vehicle from their O licence, terminated the agreement and returned the sum of money set aside for financial standing.

The business which borrowed the licence disc said they got advice from the existing operator about applying for a licence. They only made an application for an O licence after their vehicle was stopped.

What did the Commissioner do?

The Traffic Commissioner said the business lending the licence disc had entered into an agreement which “allowed a front for their activities even though they had no authority to operate”.

He refused the application on the grounds of repute, financial standing and professional competence.

The existing operator lost its licence