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O-licence is revoked after ‘great failings’

  • 26 November 2013
  • By Roger Brown

Nick Denton, South East traffic commissioner (TC), has revoked the O-licence of a Reigate firm after it deliberately broke an environmental condition not to use vehicles at weekends.

At an October public inquiry in Eastbourne, the TC was told that Development Contractors had been authorised to only use trucks between Monday and Friday, due to restrictions imposed on its licence.
However, Vosa officers stopped a company vehicle carrying scaffolding and building equipment on a journey from Brighton to Wray’s Farm in Reigate on the A23 at Handcross on Saturday 20 April.

An officer found the driver had committed several offences – including using a driver card in someone else’s name – and prohibited him from driving for 45 hours. Further analysis revealed the tachograph card – in the name of director Derek Wray – had been in the vehicle for seven weeks and used by several drivers illegally.
During the hearing, Wray said he had left the card in his drawer and was unaware it was being illegally used. The TC was not satisfied by his explanation and concluded that he should have taken greater care over its whereabouts.

Wray also told the TC there had been an error on the day and that a transit van should have been used for the weekend job. However, photographs submitted by the Vosa officer showed that the scaffolding load could not have been carried in a smaller vehicle, because it included a dumper. Wray claimed that the dumper had not been expected as part of the load but admitted it was owned by the company.

The TC was told that Development Contractors had also operated without a transport manager since February at least. The transport manager employed by the firm, David Burt, had not been fulfilling his duties, rarely visited to check vehicle and driver records and could not be contacted by the company. There was no evidence of routine safety checks being performed on vehicles and no defect reporting system for drivers to record vehicle defects.

The TC said: “The operator should have made alternative arrangements, or asked for a period of grace in which to appoint a new transport manager. It did not.” TC Denton made a separate order to disqualify Burt indefinitely as a transport manager, saying that he must take and pass the standard qualification before he can re-enter the industry.

He concluded: “The failings of this operator have simply been too great for the licence to be permitted to continue. If the loss of the licence does mean the collapse of the entire business, then this, to put it bluntly, is an outcome which is merited.” The TC said the firm had completely ignored the responsibilities of being an operator of LGVs.


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