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Senior traffic commissioner Beverley Bell defends road transport industry safety record

  • 05 October 2012
  • By Christopher Walton

Senior traffic commissioner Beverley Bell has defended the safety record of the road transport industry in The Times newspaper today after one of its readers wrote to voice his disgust at his perception of a poor record.

On Wednesday (5 October) John Neilson, of Knebworth, Herts, wrote to the newspaper to say: “The road transport industry in the UK is unique in having no effective body which supervises safety matters. the police are largely ineffective as they have other priorities.Any other industry with the safety record of road transport would have been shut down years ago.”

Bell responded with the following:


John Neilson suggests the UK is unique in having no effective body which supervises safety matters in the road transport industry and that its safety record should lead to the industry being shut down (letters, Oct 2).

On behalf of the traffic commissioners for Great Britain, I would like to correct those assertions.

First, it is incorrect to suggest that safety matters in the road transport industry are not supervised. The commercial vehicle industry is regulated – by seven independent traffic commissioners.  We are responsible for licensing lorry, bus and coach operators and have the power to remove those licences – and therefore those operators from the industry – where they fail to uphold the required standards and compromise the safety of other road users.  We also regulate commercial vehicle drivers.

Secondly, the vast majority of people involved in the commercial road transport industry, including drivers, are compliant with the relevant laws and uphold the required safety and professional standards.

The commissioners of England, Scotland and Wales produce an annual report, which provides a review of our work each year and a detailed breakdown of the regulatory cases we have dealt with.

Traffic commissioners take the conduct of commercial vehicle drivers very seriously and we have – and use – our powers to suspend or revoke their licences where appropriate.

Our mission statement is to champion safe, fair and reliable passenger and goods transport and we work closely with VOSA – the relevant enforcement body – and the Department for Transport to keep Britain’s roads safe.

Yours faithfully,

Beverley Bell
Senior Traffic Commissioner for Great Britain


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