When you ate your cornflakes this morning, you probably didn’t give much thought to how the box arrived in our shops. These day to day items are brought to us through a complex logistics network that, when running correctly, we barely even notice.
As a specialist road transport lawyer, I have huge respect for the operators of haulage and passenger businesses together with the drivers that work around the clock to make sure shelves are stacked and children are delivered safely to school via the school bus.
The logistics network is an often forgotten industry and one that requires greater attention in particular in bringing young people through an educational or apprenticeship route to plug the current driver shortage. Often neglected in education establishments, it is a sector that provides job security, is highly regulated and that is crucial to the overall infrastructure of all that we do in our lives.
Bedford plays host to a number of national distribution centres, with more currently underway, and there are many road transport rules which impact on these companies, for example, the regulation of the number of hours drivers can work, or considerations with regards to vehicle maintenance.
On a day to day basis, my team and I advise businesses on ensuring that drivers are up to speed with laws applying to them on the road, such as mobile phone use, the use of satellite navigation systems, and ensuring they are not driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Regrettably, things can go wrong for businesses and their employees. Our transport team regularly aids companies who are facing enforcement from industry regulators or the Police, and will accompany directors and drivers to interviews under caution and represent them in Court or Public Inquiries. Even minor infringements can potentially have an impact on livelihoods, so we seek not only to support businesses and their drivers, but advise on compliance systems from the outset which aim to keep all road users safe.
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Mike Hayward, Partner, Woodfines Solicitors
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