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  • 13 May 2014
  • By Roger Brown

South East traffic commissioner Nick Denton (pictured) has disqualified an operator and his transport manager after he heard misleading evidence at a public inquiry and ruled that false statements were given to DVSA.

In a written decision following a public inquiry in Eastbourne in March, the TC disqualified Joe Benson, trading as Benson Transport, for three months, and his transport manager, Terry Jeakins, indefinitely. The TC also revoked the sole trader’s O-licence.

In June 2013 a DVSA (then Vosa) examiner stopped one of the operator’s vehicles and found it was being used without a valid MoT. During a follow-up investigation, the DVSA found:

- a driver at the east London-based haulier authorised to run three vehicles was occasionally driving a vehicle over 7.5 tonnes without the necessary entitlement;
- the operator was not able to produce any digital data for analysis because he did not have an operator card or the hardware to download data;
- there was no system for monitoring compliance with the Working Time Directive.

There was also a delayed prohibition against a vehicle operated on the licence for an insecure brake air reservoir.
The vehicle subsequently received a further delayed PG9 at its annual test four days later.

Benson Transport presented evidence from a February FTA audit, before the hearing, which made 16 recommendations, including on forward planning of safety inspections and training for drivers’ hours and Working Time Directive compliance.
Jeakins said his role with Benson Transport was to check vehicles and book them in for safety inspections – he did not carry out tachograph analysis.

He told the TC he worked around 15 hours a week for Benson and had a commitment to another licence of between four and eight hours.

The TC queried this account, because Jeakins had told a DVSA officer he worked only about two hours a week for Benson Transport. TC Denton then asked Benson about tacho analysis but was not impressed by his responses.

The TC said: “After what I can only describe as attempts to mislead me, Mr Benson was forced to accept that the operator’s digital tachograph card had only been obtained ‘about four to six weeks ago’ and the necessary hardware had been ordered a month ago and had arrived two weeks previously.”

He added that this flatly contradicted the assurances given by Jeakins to the DVSA examiner.

The TC said that due to the history of continued and significant non-compliance, he had no confidence that Benson could be relied on to comply.

He added that Jeakins’ loss of repute and professional was inevitable.

“Mr Jeakins is a transport manager by virtue of acquired rights and appears not to have kept up to date with developments in the industry and with legislation,” the TC added.


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