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Indifference to safety leads to O-licence revocation

  • 24 December 2013
  • By Roger Brown

North East deputy traffic commissioner (TC) Elizabeth Perrett has revoked the O-licence of Halifax-based Norman Skips, saying the business had demonstrated a “staggering indifference” to road safety.

Following a public inquiry in Leeds in November, Perrett also disqualified the company and its director Norman Stoker, remarking that the case was one of the worst she had ever seen. A Vosa vehicle examiner told Perrett that the one truck operated by the business had been stopped with mechanical defects on four occasions between February and October.

Examiners discovered underinflated tyres, an unsecure load, loose wheelnuts, an unsecure front shock absorber, and damage to the driver’s cab step, which was likely to cause injury to others. On two occasions, the examiners issued safety-critical prohibition notices.

The company was prosecuted at Halifax Magistrates’ Court in September for using an overloaded vehicle, using a vehicle in a dangerous condition, and failing to use a tachograph. The firm was fined £1,330 for the overloading offence and £1,065 for the dangerous vehicle, with no separate penalty for the third offence.

A driver employed by Norman Skips, Daniel Reyner, from Otley, had been stopped on three occasions and issued with fixed penalties. The first came on 16 May for an unsecure load, unsecure road wheel, and failing to use a tachograph. The second was issued by police in July for an overloaded vehicle. In October, Reyner received a fixed penalty for insufficient weekly rest while carrying out his driving duties.

Also, the company’s maintenance contract for the routine inspection of its vehicle was a forgery and no safety inspections had been carried out. The business had also been keeping the vehicle at a base in Farrar Mills Lane, Halifax, without permission, when it should have returned to the authorised premises on the Denholme Industrial Estate in Bradford.

Perrett said: “The state of the vehicle has been shown to be deplorable, and a real risk to road safety. I am dealing with an operator who is indifferent and cavalier.”

Perrett considered the firm’s links to David Turner, another operator trading as Turn Green Skip Hire, which she had disqualified from operating vehicles in 2012. She concluded that Stoker had obtained a licence to allow Turner to continue operating.

During the hearing, Perrett refused a new O-licence application from Turner’s son Jonathan, trading as Turngreen Skip Hire, to run one vehicle from Farrar Mills Lane, Halifax. “I find it highly unlikely that David Turner will allow his son to run the business in a compliant way,” she concluded. Perrett said Stoker had “woven a web of deceit” in his dealings with her office and Vosa inspectors.


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