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i was caught using a mobile phone(not hands free) on the m11 on the 7th dec 06 whilst driving a hgv and was given a £30 fixed penalty notice and thought that was the end of it now today i just received a letter from the office of traffic commissioner eastern office say i must attend a hearing on may 18th.
under licensing of vocational drivers- section 113.
has anyone had any dealings with these hearings because i have asked a few people and noone i have spoke have heard of this.
has anybody outthere had any dealins with these offices
From what I've read, these cases are a fine and 3 points as standard. Not sure why you've got to go to court though. Maybe someone has had a shite day and has decided to pick on you.
QUOTE (Maria. @ Sat, 28 Apr 2007 - 17:35) *
From what I've read, these cases are a fine and 3 points as standard. Not sure why you've got to go to court though. Maybe someone has had a shite day and has decided to pick on you.

Being a lorry driver this has been referred to the Traffic Commissioners which is not Court but an inquiry - I'm not sure but I believe they may be able to impose further penalties as using a mobile phone whilst driving will be against the terms and conditions of issue of the OP's HGV licence especially if he is a self employed haulier.

The eight Traffic Commissioners are appointed by the Secretary of State for the Transport and have responsibility in their area for:

* The licensing of the operators of Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) and of buses and coaches (Public Service Vehicles or PSVs).
* The registration of local bus services.
* Granting vocational licences and taking action against drivers of HGVs and PSVs.

Commissioners are statutorily independent in their licensing functions. When necessary, they hold Public Inquiries, in particular to consider the environmental suitability of HGV operating centres and the possibility of disciplinary action against operators who have not observed the conditions of their licences.

Even though the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency is responsible for issuing vocational driver licences, the Traffic Commissioners retain responsibility for assessing a driver’s suitability to hold such licences.

Cases referred to the Traffic Commissioners include applications for provisional entitlement to drive LGVs and PCVs, where an applicant has: accumulated nine or more penalty points in the last two years; committed a drink-drive offence; or been disqualified. Other cases include vocational licence holders who have received a period of disqualification, drivers who have committed alcohol or drugs related offences; and drivers who have committed non-endorsable offences such as tachograph or drivers’ hours offences. Traffic Commissioners are usually informed of non-endorsable offences through the Vehicle Inspectorate Division, the police, the courts, etc.
The Rookie
QUOTE (Maria. @ Sat, 28 Apr 2007 - 17:35) *
From what I've read, these cases are a fine and 3 points as standard. Not sure why you've got to go to court though. Maybe someone has had a shite day and has decided to pick on you.

Offence was in December when the penalty was a £30 fine, it only recently gone to £60/3 points if you missed all the media hype!

I have had excperience of dealing with the South Eastern and Metropolitan Traffic Commissioner as an operator.

You will be called before a Public Inquiry. This is not a court of law as such, but PIs are called to deal with disciplinary matters regarding operators and vocational licence holders such as you and I who hold PCV(bus) or LGV(lorry) entitlement.

Here is where the double jeopardy comes in.

You have been given a fixed penalty notice for using the mobile phone whilst driving a lorry. Rather silly in the first place, lorries are rather heavy and can cause a lot of damage when they hit someone or something. Gripe over. The Commissioner will call you and probably the officer issuing the ticket to give evidence, maybe your employer too and his transport manager. It will cost them all a day off work and possible legal fees if they are represented. They cannot reclaim legal fees if you are cleared.

The outcome is likely to be that you will have your LGV entitlement suspended for a period of time, maybe a day, maybe a few weeks. This means you will be unable to drive lorries during that period. There may also be disciplinary action on your employer's O licence for causing or permitting you to use a mobile phone whilst driving. He has a duty to instruct you not to do so, and to haul you through his own disciplinary proceedure if you do so.

At the the worst case scenario the Commissioner could revoke your LGV entitlement, so no more lorry driving.

The cases I've been involved with so far have been bus drivers smoking in the cab (1-5 days suspension of licence), drivers convicted of speeding regularly (suspended for up to a week), and 2 cases of bus drivers being convicted under the Sex Offenders Act, licence revoked for ever.

Whether the double jeopardy has ever been tested in a higher court I don't know, but the immediate appeal is to the Transport Tribunal, then the Minister for Transport.

I know we all break the law at times, myself included, but there really is no excuse for using the phone whilst driving. The easy answer is, don't smoke in the cab, don't use the mobile whilst driving, and don't molest children! You are supposed to be a professional driver.
All our tickets/process for using a mobile whilst driving a HGV / PSV get refered to the Traffic Comminisioner.

We should be issuing a summons for the offence as a FPN is not suitable for this type of vehicle.
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