Woodfines Solicitors held its annual Road Transport Conference on Thursday 3rd May at the Imperial War Museum in Duxford. It provided a lively and informative day of discussions with delegates from the road transport and passenger business sector across the region.
The firm’s Head of Transport and Regulatory department, Mike Hayward, welcomed operators, managers, directors, consultants and drivers before being joined by transport lawyers, Nathan Taylor-Allkins and Jane Anderson, to discuss updates in compliance on the road, and the lessons learned from a tragic 2017 fatality case involving lorries on the motorway, where the hot topic of mobile phone usage was heavily debated.
Mr Hayward says: “The day provides an opportunity for those with a shared passion for the logistics industry to share experiences and gain legal updates to benefit their businesses. Transport is the life blood of the economy”.
Tim Nesbitt QC of Outer Temple Chambers then provided an insight into what is expected of those facing a Public Inquiry, and how to prepare for one. Amongst a number of useful pieces of advice, Mr Nesbitt QC emphasised the need for transparency with the regulator, in order to avoid a finding of dishonesty or lack of trust in the Operator which can be irreversibly damaging to a road transport business and a director’s repute.
Following a coffee break, Woodfines’ Partner and GDPR Lead, Maria Gallucci, took the delegates on a whistlestop tour of preparing for the upcoming General Data Protection Regulation, and looked at how they will affect all businesses, including those in the road transport industry and transport consultancy businesses.
Maria was followed by Adam Speakman, who leads the Fraud and Investigation’s team at Metro Bank. He has responsibility over all aspects of fraud, including prevention strategies, investigations and awareness, and provided a fascinating look at how easy it is for data theft to take place when on the road before offering advice on how lorry and coach drivers and their businesses can take steps to protect themselves. Adam works closely with our Cambridge-based Litigation Partner, Maria Koureas-Jones.
Corporate Partner, Martin Smith, from Woodfines’ Cambridge office, discussed issues of business succession, and the importance of notifying the Traffic Commissioner of changes to corporate entities, before passing to the DVSA’s Enforcement Policy Manager, David Wood. Mr Wood shared the outcomes of the DVSA’s Earned Recognition Scheme pilot, which took place in 2017, and its full implementation which began in April 2018. He also helped to address how the Scheme would work in practice for Operators, and any concerns that they may have had in joining up.
The delegates enjoyed a buffet lunch at the venue, the AirSpace Conference Centre at the Imperial War Museum at Duxford, before reconvening to hear an update from Senior Traffic Commissioner, Richard Turfitt. As entertaining as he is informative, Mr Turfitt provided an overview of the most prominent issues addressed in Public Inquiries over recent months, and gave his advice on how Operators could maintain compliance and good standing.
The conference was timely given the changes to MOT regulations coming into force from the 20th May 2018, and the application of the revised Roadworthiness directive starting at the same time. Mr Turfitt and Mr Hayward emphasised to the delegation the recurring issues of poor brake testing and how critical regular and thorough vehicle inspections are.
Driver shortage remains a big concern in the sector. Mr Hayward also updated the delegation with the Health and Safety Law that permits drivers to use commercial premises for sanitary purposes when on the road. This is essential given that there are often inadequate service stops for commercial drivers.
The Conference provides delegates with a busy day of interesting talks which aim to assist them in the daily running of their transport businesses. The firm’s Road Transport team hosts two conferences per year, providing essential regulatory and compliance updates, and we are grateful to our external speakers to help us to provide presentations of genuine interest and use.
Our next Conference will take place later in 2018, and full details will be released on our website in due course. Please visit www.woodfines.co.uk/events for further information.