A Highways Agency Traffic Officer (HATO) works on major roads and motorways in the UK to reduce congestion and manage on-road scenes following incidents or collisions. HATOs have special powers that road users must obey, such as the ability to instruct traffic to move along or stop. By law, road users must obey them, although their authority is not equivalent to that of a police officer. Of course, a top concern of the Highways Agency Traffic Officer Service is to ensure the absolute safety of road users, which they strive to do so working closely with the police.
In the line of duty, HATOs have many different responsibilities, which we will break down (excuse the pun) right now!
Highways Agency Traffic Officer Job Checklist
- Provide an on-road presence which successfully supports the Highways Agency’s Network.
- Take action to alleviate congestion resulting from incidents and collisions.
- Assist crews to remove broken down/damaged/abandoned vehicles.
- Clear foreign objects, debris, and animals from the roadway.
- Work to improve the safety of road users.
- Carry out patrols using high visibility equipment.
- Carry out road closures and manage their consequences, such as diversions and queues.
- Escort vehicles carrying potentially high-risk loads.
- Implement tactics designed to reduce journey times for all vehicles.
- Monitor road networks, draw up reports, and advise other officers about potential disruptions.
- Maintain a high standard of customer service to road users.
- Be willing to provide extra cover and support during special events and busy periods.
- Work alongside the police as well as other Highways Agencies.
- Be prepared to act as an expert witness in court and attend other legal proceedings.
- Provide First Aid if arriving first to the scene of an incident or collision.
What does the Highways Agency Traffic Officer selection process entail?
The very first thing that you will need to undertake in order to become a HATO is the application form. On this form, you will find the minimum eligibility criteria that you will need to meet to progress any further. This will include details such as whether you hold a driving licence. This part of the process is relatively straightforward, as all the instructions you will need to follow will be right on the form.
If your application form is received, and recruiters decide they wish to advance you to the next stage of the process, you will receive an invitation to attend an assessment centre. At the assessment centre, you will have to undergo several different tests of different genre. For example, you will have to carry out role play tasks and interviews, as well as other general tests and questions.
Of course, following this assessment centre you will find out whether or not your application to become a Highways Agency Traffic Officer has been successful. In some cases, you will hear that you have been successful but there are insufficient vacancies in you preferred location. In such instances, you may be placed on a waiting list until a vacancy becomes available. While this is not hugely ideal, it is better than being flat-out rejected.
For more resources on how to become a Highways Agency Traffic Officer (HATO), follow the link for our dedicated section.
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