The operator of a Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) or Public Service Vehicle (PSV) is the owner of the vehicle, this could be a driver themselves or their employer. If you run a road haulage or coach company you will need to have the correct operator’s licence as well as planning permission for an operating centre.
The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is the regulatory body for operator licences and local Traffic Commissioners are responsible for HGV and PSV operators licensing and have the power to issue and revoke licences. They can take action against operators for infringement of the rules and have the power to hold public enquiries if there are any doubts about your application or objections.
It is important for your business that you comply with the applicable licensing laws and ensure your drivers have correct licences and training. We are expert operator licence solicitors who can provide help and guidance to ensure your operation meets all legal requirements. There are different laws which apply according to whether you are a HGV operator or PSV operator and the nature of your operation.
In order for you to run a road transport operation you will need to employ drivers who have a Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC). There are some circumstances when a CPC is not required, such as having your CPC through ‘acquired rights’ or if it is used in certain purposes. You are required to have a Driver CPC if:
• You are EU state national resident
• You work for a company based in the EU
You do not require a Driver CPC if:
• The vehicle you are driving is limited to 45kph
• The vehicle you drive is under control of the armed forces, police, fire or rescue services or a local authority
• If you are driving a vehicle to test repairs or servicing
• If you are driving a vehicle for technical development reasons
• If you are driving a vehicle to or from a pre-book appointment at an official testing centre
• If you are driving a vehicle as part of an official rescue mission or during state of emergency
• If you are taking or preparing to take a driving licence test or Driver CPC test
• If you are driving a vehicle for non-commercial carrying of goods or passengers for personal use
• If the vehicle you are driving is being used to carry equipment or material in support of your job. In this case driving of the vehicle must not be the main part of your job
• If the vehicle you drive is driven within 50 km of its base and is not carrying goods or passengersThe above is a rough guide. The rules on Driver CPC’s are complicated and only a court can make a decision on how they are interpreted.
HGV Operators Licences
The type of operator licence you require depends on the weight of the vehicle. Your licence lasts for five years and is issued by the DVSA. If you run a road haulage company you will need a HGV operators licence if you use goods vehicles which are:
• A maximum of 3,500kg in weight when laden
• Have an unladen weight of more than 1,525kg
If you use vehicles with trailers you will need a HGV operators licence when:
• The total laden weight of the vehicle and trailer is more than 3,500kg
• The total unladen weight of the vehicle and trailer is more than 1,525kg
We have more information on laden and unladen weight on our HGV overloading page.
There are three types of HGV operators licence depending on the nature your operation:
Standard National Licence
A standard national HGV licence allows an operator to transport your own and other parties’ goods within the UK. International travel is prohibited for operators’ vehicles with this licence, but they can carry their own goods to ports as part of an international journey.
Standard International Licence
A standard international HGV licence allows an operator to transport their own or other parties’ goods both in the UK and internationally. This licence is required for the operator to be issued with Community Licences enabling:
• Journeys between EU countries
• Transit traffic through EU countries
• Journeys entirely with an EU country, known as cabotage
A restricted licence allows an operator to transport their own goods.
There are a number of licences and permits which an international road haulage operator will need in order to comply with the law, failure to do so could have serious consequences for your business. We are expert road haulage solicitors and can provide all the legal support you need as a road transport operator.
PSV Operators Licences
A PSV operators’ licence is required for vehicles which carry nine or more passengers and could also be needed for smaller vehicles depending on their usage; contact us if you are unsure. There are four types of PSV operators licence:
Standard Licence – National Operations
This licence allows you to run a road haulage only within the UK.
Standard Licence – National & International Operations
This licence allows travel in the UK and internationally.
This applies to small scale operations with a maximum of 2 vehicles carrying up to 8 passengers.
Special Restricted Licence
This licence applies to operators of local taxi services.
The Traffic Commissioner will issue a PSV operators licence if you meet certain criteria:
• That you are of good repute – objections can be made against you becoming an operator
• The business is financially secure enough to run the operation
• Vehicles are maintained and staff are properly trained
If you are a HGV or PSV operator or you are starting a road transport business you should be fully aware of all the legal requirements for your operation. There are many forms which need to be completed to apply for a licence, renew or alter an existing one and procedures that have to be followed which our specialist solicitors can guide you through.