Traffic Commissioners Updated Guidance for Operator Licensing

The Traffic Commissioners for Great Britain have published an updated guide which gives an overview of how the licensing system works for operators of goods vehicles.

It is intended to give a summary of operator licensing and to direct users to where further advice may be available.

This updated guidance provides clarification of modern rules and regulations and adheres to current accessibility criteria. The new guide remains fully printable for those who choose to do so.

It includes details on what is necessary in order to hold an operator’s licence, how to apply for a licence, managing a licence, the role and responsibilities of transport managers and more.

The guide provides advice to operators of goods vehicles and trailers on how the operator licensing system works. It is intended to help both new and existing operators understand the requirements of the operator licensing system.

Traffic commissioners are the regulators of the road transport industry in Great Britain. They are appointed by the Secretary of State for Transport but act independently from Government and the enforcement agencies, for example, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency.

If you are a new operator, you will find this guide useful to understand the operator licensing procedures and the requirements you will have to meet to hold a licence. Experienced and established operators may find it useful as a refresher and to develop your understanding of operator licensing.

Who can hold an operator’s licence?

The licence should be applied for in the name of the person, company or partnership that is the ‘user’ of the vehicle. You will be considered to be the user of the vehicle if:

  • you are the driver and owner of the vehicle; or

  • it is in your lawful possession under an agreement for hire, hire purchase or loan; or

  • the driver is your employee or agent (i.e. you pay them to drive the vehicle for you).

Correct licence type

A restricted licence is only appropriate for the carriage of the operator’s own goods (i.e. the goods are the property of the business or, in the case of a company that entity or its parent or subsidiary) and on their own account.

Determining the correct type of licence might be a question of fact and degree, but if you answer yes to the following questions, it is likely to suggest that the operation is likely to require a standard licence:

  • is the transport of the goods a predominant part of the service provided?

  • does the operator hold, and rely on when carrying those goods, a type of insurance policy that covers carriage of goods for reward?

  • does the carrying result in payment, direct or indirect, which benefits the owner or user of the vehicle?

Guide here:

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