Make sure you are aware of responsibilities

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Businesses operating in the transport sector should be aware of their legal responsibilities, a lawyer has warned.

Those businesses which operate large vehicles, and therefore need HGV licences in place for staff, are often not aware of the practical effect of the extent of their responsibilities.

Operators always have to give undertakings when obtaining a licence, warns Hayley Bamber, a solicitor in the Litigation team at Lancashire law firm Napthens.

She said operators, for instance bus or haulage companies, often inadvertently forget their undertakings.

Those undertakings set out the regulations to the service, maintenance and safety inspections on vehicles. For example an undertaking may include the duty to have a vehicle serviced every eight weeks and for safety checks to be conducted on the vehicle before every journey. It is vital that up to date records are kept.

As a result they risk legal action if, for instance, they are found to be in breach if stopped by the police or if they are subject to random checks by governing body the office of the Traffic Commissioner. Hayley explained: “Transport operators must remain compliant at all times. There is no middle ground. Therefore such businesses should be aware of all their undertakings or risk costly penalties and public inquiries which can not only affect a business financially but can ruin a hard-won reputation.”