The industry has been given a chance to say whether the role and functions of the traffic commissioners are required, after the government launched a consultation into their work.

The review also offers an opportunity to comment on the current delivery model, governance and funding arrangements of the eight TCs and 11 deputy TCs, as well as issues faced by their function amid the pandemic and their increased workload.

Questions asked in the consultation include: How far do you agree or disagree that the function of holding public inquiries is necessary?

Who would you prefer to hold public inquiries?

How do you think, if at all, that the provision of DVSA staff to the OTC affects the independence of the Traffic Commissioners' function?

News of the consultation follows claims last November by outgoing DVSA chief executive Gareth Llewellyn that traffic commissioners should be “abolished” and operator cases pursued through the courts instead.

Giving evidence to the transport select committee, he described TCs as “anachronistic” and said a significant amount of money could be saved by doing away with them.

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He said: “In the operator world there’s a group called the traffic commissioners. Now I am firmly of the view that we don’t need the traffic commissioners any more.

“They were probably OK in the 1930s, but the reality is we have a really good track record of enforcement through the courts and tribunal service and I think we should be doing that for operators as well and that will save us millions and millions of pounds.

“Not necessarily in terms of people, but in terms of simplifying systems and removing unnecessary estate.”

The transport minister Baroness Vere said: “Traffic Commissioners play a key role in road safety, including helping ensure that people who operate HGVs and coaches are reputable, that there is fair competition between operators and that public inquiry proceedings are fair.

“I want to ensure that this important function is as effective as possible, which is why I have launched a thorough review and encourage anyone with an interest to have their say.”

The consultation can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/review-of-traffic-commissioners-for-great-britain-function and it closes on 8 September, with recommendations expected to be published next spring.