TC issues warning to hauliers pulling third party trailers

The Deputy Traffic Commissioner for the North West, Simon Evans, has warned hauliers pulling another company’s trailers that they must ensure that the trailer is fit and serviceable.
In Simon Jones’ written decision after the Public Inquiry of Morecambe based, JM Gorry & Son, he reminded operators that it was the responsibility of traction-only operators to provide themselves with “satisfactory levels of assurance” about checks carried out by trailer owners.
He went on to say that “the principle responsibility is on the operator providing the traction to ensure that both the tractor unit and the trailer are fit and that the risk will be to his licence if there are issues.  This is a long-established principle and is [an] issue that must not be compromised.  If [the operator] cannot be satisfied about the arrangements that the trailer owner has in place, it will be necessary for him to cease to act for that client.”
This obviously can raise operational difficulties for company’s picking up trailers at ports, for example.  What should they do to ensure the trailer is in a satisfactory condition?
As a minimum an operator should ask for (and receive) the trailer’s most recent PMI sheet to ensure the vehicle has been inspected within their own PMI interval.  The operator’s driver should also complete their daily inspection.  Whether an operator should undertake a full PMI for each new trailer it collects is questionable but, if a client is consistently providing them with trailers in poor condition then this may be the logical conclusion.  What the operator must do is make sure the trailers are fit and serviceable and that may be different under different circumstances.
For advice on Operator Licensing issues or for any general queries on transport law, contact Jared Dunbar at Dyne Solicitors on 01829 773 100.
Content is believed to be correct at time of writing.  Content written on 20 August 2013.

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